What To Do If You Suspect Alzheimers Disease
Getting checked by your healthcare provider can help determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are related to Alzheimers disease, or a more treatable conditions such as a vitamin deficiency or a side effect from medication. Early and accurate diagnosis also provides opportunities for you and your family to consider financial planning, develop advance directives, enroll in clinical trials, and anticipate care needs.
What Does Age Have To Do With It
The age you are diagnosed with AD may have the greatest impact on your life expectancy. The earlier you are diagnosed, the longer you may live. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health have discovered that the average survival time for people diagnosed at age 65 is 8.3 years. The average life expectancy for people diagnosed at age 90 is 3.4 years.
Be Knowledgeable And Prepared
Therefore, if you have a loved one who is living with Alzheimers, it is imperative that you take specific action as early as possible for their sake and yours! Experts at the Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimers Association advise that two things are essential:
- Become as educated and informed as you can about the disease so you always know what to expect.
- Get help taking care of a loved one with progressive memory loss typically becomes too big of a job for one human being.
Alzheimers is progressive in nature and the slow but steady changes in behavior and function it inevitably causes require greater amounts of care, time and energy from the caregiver. Understanding the disease process so you can plan and prepare for the future should be a priority.
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Irritability And Mood Swings
In the mid and especially late stages, a person who has dementia may begin to lose control of his impulses.
This is the most alarming effect of dementia, which may lead to hurting another person emotionally.
A person who has dementia may even say tactless things, like Gosh, you look old!, which they would never say before.
In the later stage, more aggressive acts often seem to come out of nowhere, including cursing, arguing, shouting, and even threatening.
As dementia gets worse, the person loses tolerance for a lot of things and situations which makes his or her mood change constantly.
The Effects Of Alzheimers On The Family: Why Its Important To Understand And Prepare
Sam Streater, Director of Activities at Saunders House in Wynnewood, PA, says, When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia, it has a ripple effect that can impact the entire family. In fact, gerontologists and psychologists often refer to the families of those with memory loss as the invisible second patients.
The effects of Alzheimers disease can be particularly challenging for primary caregivers within the family. In addition to dealing with the normal activities of everyday life such as career, family and personal schedule caregivers must also provide round-the-clock care and support to their loved one.”
Sadly, primary caregivers often become physically and emotionally overburdened and experience high rates of physical illness, social isolation, emotional distress including depression and financial hardship. Unfair as it may be, the price of their devotion to their loved one is often a poorer quality of life for themselves.
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Early Onset Of Alzheimer ‘s Disease
common form of dementia is Alzheimer ‘s. Alzheimer ‘s disease literally eats and attacks the human brain . It is a progressive disease that causes the brain cells to degenerate and die, which causes memory loss and affects other important mental functions . Today in America, over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer ‘s disease and someone develops Alzheimer ‘s disease every 67 seconds in the United States. . A form of Alzheimer ‘s diseases is early onset. Early
How Does Dementia Affect The Brain And Everyday Life
The impacts of Dementia and Alzheimers on Activities of Daily Living make it difficult for those with the disease to complete simple activities that we often take for granted, such as bathing, doing laundry or cleaning. It is important to remember that not every person suffering from dementia will look dishevelled and unkempt, and different stages of the disease will alter the way in which the person in question will complete the task.
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Reaching Out For Help
Unicity Healthcare is licensed as a Healthcare Service Firm by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs . As experts in the homecare field, we understand that no two clients are the same, and, as such, we develop an individualized service plan, incorporating all aspects of the persons life and family. The steps involved in this process is vital in creating the Unicity Homecareapproach, one that stresses personalization, dedication and quality care.
Unicity Healthcare provides non-medical and medical homecare services to our clients. Our services are customized and range from a few hours per day to 24/7 . Our licensed, trained and experienced Home Health Aides can assist you or your loved one with maintaining a daily routine, from bathing, eating, socializing, or simply going for a walk outside.
Our mission is to help our clients stay in their familiar surroundings, remain independent and live an active, healthy, and happy life. All our services are provided by licensed aides , and supervised by a Registered Nurse, who, in collaboration with the client and his/her family, develops a customized plan of care. We also keep our clients families updated regularly on the situation of their loved ones, and we provide guidance when necessary.
Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment And Social / Economic Importance Of Alzheimer ‘s Disease
Alzheimers diseaseA disease is a medical condition that affects a living organism either physically, mentally or emotionally. It is basically a condition involving a pathological process along with a set of various symptoms some easily noticeable whereas others quite difficult to detect, making their treatment process slower. Nevertheless, the social and economic impacts followed by the diagnosis of the disease are generally quite drastic. Among the various types of diseases, certain
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Getting Fired From Work
Most people who are diagnosed with early-onset AD hide this fact from their employer and continue to work to make enough money to pay their medical bills and personal expenses. The decline in performance and asocial behavior affects their professional lives and eventually gets them fired.
People with businesses make wrong decisions due to lack of judgment, ability to be logical, etc, this makes their clients think twice and explore other options.
The Individual Self: How Is Dignity Affected At The Intrapersonal Level
Almost all participants noted that, to a greater or lesser extent, the disease had affected their identity. They did not feel like the person they were before the onset of dementia, or they felt that somethinga part of themselveshad been lost. Closely related to the partial loss of personhood, and often mentioned in conjunction with a diminished sense of personal dignity, was the loss of autonomy. As a result of cognitive decline, participants experienced increasing difficulty in understanding and grasping situations, leading to a loss of control and dependency on others for guidance and decision making:
Dignity means you can be yourself, youre still in control of your own thoughts, you can do what you want, with friends and people around you, with enough dignity to still know who you are. But Im not like that anymore. Its difficult to put into words. Now I just give in to others whodont exactly decide for me, but stillIm no longer independent. Thats the way I feel about it. .
Yes, digging in the garden. It really does me good. I worked in the garden yesterday or the day before, its a bit cluttered, but I like a cluttered garden. And it makes me feel so much better. I was completelymy body ached and I was so sad. But then I went and worked in the garden and came out feeling healthy.
Yes, Im a real homebodyyou feel so safe and free in your own house. Every day, Im just so pleased with my home. And that we live here.
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So What Would New Drugs Do To Help
The dementia treatments currently available temporarily stabilise or improve a persons symptoms, helping them to maintain their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks for longer. This can make a big difference to someones quality of life but, unfortunately, current treatments dont work for everybody.
Our scientists are working hard to produce life-changing treatments that make real breakthroughs for the day-to-day lives of people with dementia.
One key measure of success for these treatments is to see whether they improve memory and thinking skills. But as this blog explains, its improvements in many aspects of day-to-day life that could have the biggest positive effect on a person with dementia and their family.
Symptomatic treatments, similar to those already available, could help make these improvements. But longer-term improvements in day-to-day life are more likely to come from transformational new treatments that can actually slow or stop the underlying diseases behind dementia, like Alzheimers, and protect the brain from damage.
For any new disease-modifying treatment to be approved for use in people, it would have to benefit a persons ability to carry out daily tasks in clinical trials through specialised tests.
The online tool will help you to understand what developing a treatment could mean for someone with dementia and their families.
Stage : Mild Dementia
The mild dementia stage is the point at which doctors typically diagnose Alzheimers disease. If people use a three-stage description of Alzheimers disease, this will be the early stage.
Problems with memory and thinking may become more noticeable to friends and family and also begin to affect daily life.
Symptoms of mild dementia due to Alzheimers disease include:
- having difficulty remembering newly learned information
- asking the same question repeatedly
- having trouble solving problems and completing tasks
- exhibiting reduced motivation to complete tasks
- experiencing a lapse in judgment
- becoming withdrawn or uncharacteristically irritable or angry
- having difficulty finding the correct words to describe an object or idea
- getting lost or misplacing items
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The Relational Self: How Is Dignity Affected At The Interpersonal Level
With the development of disorientation in time and place and memory problems, dependency on others for assistance and guidance gradually increases. While complete dependency on others was considered undignified, many participants noted that at present they were grateful for the help they received and that the assistance from their partner, or others close to them, actually helped them to sustain their personal dignity. For many, their sense of personal dignity was maintained by the acceptance and respect provided by their partner:
Interviewer: Does this mean that you still have your dignity? Participant: Yes, my wife has made that possible, thats a factand my children, too, and the rest of my social circle. Theyre the ones who could take dignity away from me.
Interviewer: Who or what could help you maintain your dignity in the future? Participant: That would be my partner. And good friends. If I say something odd or cant understand something, thats OK.
Paramount in maintaining dignity was the fact that the care participants received from their partner enabled them to remain in their own home, rather than having to move into a care facility:
Contact with other people who have dementia, for example, at the day-care center, was perceived as a relationship of equality in which meaning to each others lives could be given. Additionally, being part of a community in which one is respected helped to maintain personal dignity:
What Are Some Risk Factors For Alzheimers Disease
Risk factors for the development of Alzheimers disease include:
- Age. Increasing age is the primary risk factor for developing Alzheimers disease.
- Genetics . There is a certain gene, apolipoprotein E that is associated with late-onset Alzheimers disease. Other genes have been associated with early-onset Alzheimers disease.
Researchers believe the presence of the last five risk factors mentioned above might reduce the clearance of amyloid protein from the brain, which then increases the risk of developing Alzheimers disease. In particular, the presence of a number of these risk factors at the same time and while the person is in his or her 50s is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimers disease.
There may be some ways to reduce the risk of mental decline. In general, living a healthy lifestyle protects the body from strokes and heart attacks and is believed to also protect the brain from cognitive decline. Scientists cant absolutely prove the cause and effect of the following factors, but studies have shown a positive association.
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Dementia And Hallucinations And False Ideas
- Do not argue it is better to acknowledge that the person may be frightened by the delusions and hallucinations.
- Do not scold the person for losing objects or hiding things.
- Investigate suspicions to check their accuracy.
- Attempt to distract the person if possible.
- Try to respond to the underlying feelings that may be at the bottom of the statements that the person makes.
Support For Family And Friends
Currently, many people living with Alzheimers disease are cared for at home by family members. Caregiving can have positive aspects for the caregiver as well as the person being cared for. It may bring personal fulfillment to the caregiver, such as satisfaction from helping a family member or friend, and lead to the development of new skills and improved family relationships.
Although most people willingly provide care to their loved ones and friends, caring for a person with Alzheimers disease at home can be a difficult task and may become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. As the disease gets worse, people living with Alzheimers disease often need more intensive care.
You can find more information about caring for yourself and access a helpful care planning form.
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How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Progress
The rate of progression of the disease varies from person to person.
However, the disease does lead eventually to complete dependence and finally death, usually from another illness such as pneumonia. A person may live from three to twenty years with Alzheimer’s disease, with the average being seven to ten years.
Vascular Contributions To Alzheimers Disease
People with dementia seldom have only Alzheimers-related changes in their brains. Any number of vascular issuesproblems that affect blood vessels, such as beta-amyloid deposits in brain arteries, atherosclerosis , and mini-strokesmay also be at play.
Vascular problems may lead to reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brain, as well as a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, which usually protects the brain from harmful agents while allowing in glucose and other necessary factors. In a person with Alzheimers, a faulty blood-brain barrier prevents glucose from reaching the brain and prevents the clearing away of toxic beta-amyloid and tau proteins. This results in inflammation, which adds to vascular problems in the brain. Because it appears that Alzheimers is both a cause and consequence of vascular problems in the brain, researchers are seeking interventions to disrupt this complicated and destructive cycle.
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Learn About Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is a collection of symptoms and disorders that involve loss of memory and other thinking and intellectual abilities. Dementia is not a specific disorder, but refers to symptoms caused by a number of underlying diseases. Alzheimers disease accounts for 60%-80% of all cases of dementia. Alzheimers disease is a progressive illness caused by damage to the brain that leads to the death of brain cells. The progressive loss of brain cells results in memory loss, changes in thinking, personality alterations, and behavioral problems, among other difficulties. Alzheimers disease usually develops over time and gradually worsens. As the disease progresses, increased support will be required for the people with Alzheimers. In the late stages, help with all daily activities will be necessary.
While some common symptoms of Alzheimers disease exist, it is important to understand that everyone experiences the illness in different ways. While no cure for Alzheimers currently exists, medications have been developed that can temporarily relieve some of the symptoms or slow the progression of memory loss in many people. Some medications can stabilize an individuals symptoms for a year or longer.
Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimers Disease
The symptoms of Alzheimers eventually encompass every area of the individuals functioning. While these symptoms will vary among individuals, Alzheimers disease does tend to follow a particular progression. The most common symptoms of Alzheimers disease include:
- Alterations in mood, mood swings, inconsistent or inappropriate emotional responses
- Personality changes
- Inability to orient to person, place, and time
- Frustration over inability to communicate or remember things
- Withdrawal from occupational or social situations
- Misplacing common items
- Difficulty driving until it becomes hazardous
- Inability to produce the correct words to describe objects
- Inability to participate in a conversation
- Significant decrease in verbal fluency
- In later states, non-fluency
- Inability to remember and repeat a statement immediately after it was made
- In final stages, the individual may become practically mute
- Inability to understand visual-spatial concepts
- Inability to perform motor activities, despite motor abilities and the ability to understand what is necessary to carry out the task remaining intact
- Impaired gait
- Inability to properly navigate environment
- Pocketing food in the sides of mouth
- Inability to perform activities of daily living
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