The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has declared November 2022 to be National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. This devastating and deadly disease affects over 6 million Americans, which also impacts the people who care for the well-being and safety of a loved one with the disease. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, understanding what it is, knowing the signs, and proactively addressing its symptoms can be critically important to the health and safety of someone suffering from the disease.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes increasing dementia over time. According to the Mayo Clinic, dementia is a term used to describe cognitive decline, which manifests with
- A decline in memory
- Changes in thinking skills
- Poor judgment and reasoning skills
- Decreased focus and attention
- Changes in language
- Changes in behavior
While there are over 100 different types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is the most common. The Mayo Clinic explains that Alzheimer’s is progressive, causing the bring to shrink as brain cells die due to the presence of certain proteins. It is a disease that primarily affects older people, with the majority being 75 years and older. There are some medications to slow the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, although so far none have provided a cure. Currently, Alzheimer’s in the seventh leading cause of death in America.
Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
The progression of Alzheimer’s varies in rate, but there are some common signs early in the disease. These include:
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment leading to bad decisions
- Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
- Repeating questions
- Trouble handling money and paying bills
- Wandering and getting lost
- Losing things or misplacing them in odd places
- Mood and personality changes
- Increased anxiety and/or aggression
As the disease progresses, these symptoms become more pronounced and eventually lead to an inability to manage the normal activities of daily living such as preparing and eating meals, bathing and dressing.
Care for Alzheimer’s
It’s important to address Alzheimer’s as soon as it is suspected. Treatment can slow a declining condition. Appropriate care can help keep the patient safe and comfortable. Many people prefer to stay in their familiar home, but they require in home care services to address issues like possible wandering, transportation to medical appointments, exercise and brain stimulation, and assistance with activities of daily living. SmithLife Homecare offers trained assistance to people with Alzheimer’s including assessing the home environment to make sure that there aren’t any dangers to the patient. Our home-help nursing aids can be there for support as the patient’s needs grow. Together with the patient and concerned loved ones, SmithLife Homecare can help make sure a person with Alzheimer’s is secure and living with dignity.
We have several Certified Dementia Practitioners on our team to assist in guiding care suggestions. For more information about our in-home assessment and home health care services, please contact us today.
Nice read. Two of my grandparents had Alzheimer’s and it would have been to have had a aid to help with their care. Exactly as you mentioned, they wanted to stay in their home. This is also what our family wanted, but it presented many challenges. Thanks for the great post.