Evidence That Life Expectancy Calculators For Dementia Actually Work
It turns out that the length of time a person has before needing full-time care, before moving into a care community, and before dying can all be predicted somewhat accurately. This information, though not definitive, can help families get a general understanding of how to plan for the future and what to expect as the disease progresses.
In a study conducted at the department of neurology in Columbia University, groups of people with mild Alzheimers were followed for 10 years and assessed semiannually. Data from these assessments were plugged into a complicated algorithm. The people studied were tested for the following:
Mental status score Cognition and function Motor skills Psychology and behavior Basic demographic information
Other experiments have yielded similar results. A University of Kentucky study analyzed the records of more than 1,200 people with dementia and found that it was possible to accurately predict their life expectancy. Researchers looked at many variables including family history and medical problems like high blood pressure and heart disease, and ultimately realized it came down to three things:
age when the first symptoms appeared gender how impaired someone was when diagnosis was first made
Stage : Moderate Dementia
When a person has moderate dementia due to Alzheimers disease, they become increasingly confused and forgetful. They may need help with daily tasks and with looking after themselves. This is the longest stage and often lasts around 24 years.
Symptoms of moderate dementia due to Alzheimers disease include:
- losing track of the location and forgetting the way, even in familiar places
- wandering in search of surroundings that feel more familiar
- failing to recall the day of the week or the season
- confusing family members and close friends or mistaking strangers for family
- forgetting personal information, such as their address
- repeating favorite memories or making up stories to fill memory gaps
- needing help deciding what to wear for the weather or season
- needing assistance with bathing and grooming
- occasionally losing control of the bladder or bowel
- becoming unduly suspicious of friends and family
- seeing or hearing things that are not there
- becoming restless or agitated
- having physical outbursts, which may be aggressive
As Alzheimers progresses, a person may start to feel more restless toward evening and have difficulty sleeping. This is sometimes called sundowners syndrome.
During this stage, physical and mental functioning continue to decline.
If a person has severe dementia during the later stages of Alzheimers disease, they might:
What To Think About
An important part of treatment is finding and treating other medical problems the person may have.
- Depression occurs in nearly half of people with Alzheimer’s disease, especially those in the early stage of the disease. Helping them get treatment for depression can help them to do better with the abilities they still have.
- Hearing and vision loss, thyroid problems, kidney problems, and other conditions are common in older adults and may make Alzheimer’s worse. Treating these problems can improve quality of life and ease the burden on the caregiver.
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Changes In Mood Emotions And Perceptions
Changes in mood remain in the later stages of dementia. Depression and apathy are particularly common.
Delusions and hallucinations are most common in the late stage of dementia. They are not always distressing but they can explain some changes in behaviour because the persons perception of reality is altered.
People with later stage dementia often respond more to senses than words. They may like listening to songs or enjoy textures. For example, they may like the feel of different types of material.
Stage : Severe Cognitive Declinemoderately Severe Dementia
At this stage, the ability to perform basic activities of daily life becomes compromised. Functionally, five successive substages are identifiable. Persons initially in stage 6a, in addition to having lost the ability to choose their clothing without assistance, begin to require assistance in putting on their clothing properly. Unless supervised, the person with Alzheimers disease may put their clothing on backward, they may have difficulty putting their arm in the correct sleeve, or they may dress in the wrong sequence.
The total duration of the stage of moderately severe Alzheimers disease is approximately 2.5 years in otherwise healthy persons.
At approximately the same point in the evolution of AD, but generally just a little later in the temporal sequence, AD persons lose the ability to bathe without assistance . Characteristically, the earliest and most common deficit in bathing is difficulty adjusting the temperature of the bath water. Once the caregiver adjusts the temperature of the bath water, the AD person can still potentially otherwise bathe independently. As this stage evolves, additional deficits occur in bathing and dressing independently. In this 6b substage, AD persons generally develop deficits in other modalities of daily hygiene such as properly brushing their teeth.
Stages 6c, 6d, 6e
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Does The Type Of Dementia Affect Life Expectancy
The type of dementia a person has can also affect how long they live with dementia. These figures for the number of years a person may live after a diagnosis are just averages and some people live longer than this.
This information may be upsetting to read and think about but it is very important to remember that, with the right support, people with dementia can live well at all stages.
Tips For Providing Compassionate Care
Although learning about what happens during the final stage of Alzheimers disease can feel upsetting, knowing what to expect empowers you and your loved one to make decisions while you can. If your loved one hasnt reached this stage yet, now is the ideal time to talk about long-term plans for his or her care. For instance, your loved one may do best at home with a professional caregiver. If your loved one is already in this stage, your role now is to focus on helping him or her stay comfortable despite the symptoms. By putting together a team of caregivers who can help with meals, dressing, and providing calm opportunities to socialize, you can help your loved one move through the final stages of Alzheimers with the understanding that he or she is loved.
Alzheimers can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who dont have experience in providing Alzheimers care. TorontoHome Care Assistance provides Alzheimers care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimers and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan thats just right for your loved ones needs. Call us today at 488-8777 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.
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Alzheimers Disease: What You Need To Know As You Age
An estimated 5.2 million Americans are living withAlzheimers disease, the most common form ofdementiain the world and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.Todays statistics are just the tip of the iceberg, however. By 2025, thenumber of people afflicted will top 7 milliona 40 percent jumpas babyboomers continue to age and people live longer overall.
Although the risk of AD increases with age, it is not a usual partof aging or something that should be expected in older people, saysConstantine Lyketsos, M.D., director of the Memory and Alzheimers Treatment Center at Johns Hopkins.In fact, early onset Alzheimers can occur in people younger than 65,although it accounts for a small number of all cases. The rest areclassified as late onset.
Alzheimers and many other dementias occur as a result of damage toneuronsin the brain that affects their ability to communicate with each other.Over time, those neurons death and malfunction affects memory, learning,mood, behavior, and eventually physical functions, such as walking, andswallowing.
How Alzheimer’s Disease Is Treated
There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but medicines are available that can help relieve some of the symptoms.
Various other types of support are also available to help people with Alzheimer’s live as independently as possible, such as making changes to your home environment so it’s easier to move around and remember daily tasks.
Psychological treatments such as cognitive stimulation therapy may also be offered to help support your memory, problem solving skills and language ability.
Read more about treating Alzheimer’s disease.
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Stage : Normal Outward Behavior
Alzheimerâs disease usually starts silently, with brain changes that begin years before anyone notices a problem. When your loved one is in this early phase, they won’t have any symptoms that you can spot. Only a PET scan, an imaging test that shows how the brain is working, can reveal whether they have Alzheimer’s.
As they move into the next six stages, your friend or relative with Alzheimer’s will see more and more changes in their thinking and reasoning.
Who Has Alzheimers Disease
- In 2020, as many as 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimers disease.1
- Younger people may get Alzheimers disease, but it is less common.
- The number of people living with the disease doubles every 5 years beyond age 65.
- This number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.1
- Symptoms of the disease can first appear after age 60, and the risk increases with age.
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How Can Healthcare Professionals Help At This Stage
Healthcare professionals can explain these changes so you understand what is happening.
Healthcare professionals can also take steps to reduce the persons pain or distress, often using medication.
If the person cant swallow, then medication can be provided through patches on the skin, small injections or syringe pumps that provide a steady flow of medication through a small needle under the persons skin. Speak to a GP or another health professional about this.
Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented
As the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not clear, there’s no known way to prevent the condition.
But there are things you can do that may reduce your risk or delay the onset of dementia, such as:
- staying physically fit and mentally active
These measures have other health benefits, such as lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease and improving your overall mental health.
Read more about preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
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Stage : Very Mild Changes
You still might not notice anything amiss in your loved one’s behavior, but they may be picking up on small differences, things that even a doctor doesn’t catch. This could include forgetting words or misplacing objects.
At this stage, subtle symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t interfere with their ability to work or live independently.
Keep in mind that these symptoms might not be Alzheimer’s at all, but simply normal changes from aging.
How Is Alzheimers Disease Treated
Medical management can improve quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimers disease and for their caregivers. There is currently no known cure for Alzheimers disease. Treatment addresses several areas:
- Helping people maintain brain health.
- Managing behavioral symptoms.
- Slowing or delaying symptoms of the disease.
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What Is Known About Alzheimers Disease
Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes Alzheimers disease. There likely is not a single cause but rather several factors that can affect each person differently.
- Age is the best known risk factor for Alzheimers disease.
- Family historyresearchers believe that genetics may play a role in developing Alzheimers disease. However, genes do not equal destiny. A healthy lifestyle may help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimers disease. Two large, long term studies indicate that adequate physical activity, a nutritious diet, limited alcohol consumption, and not smoking may help people. To learn more about the study, you can listen to a short podcast.
- Changes in the brain can begin years before the first symptoms appear.
- Researchers are studying whether education, diet, and environment play a role in developing Alzheimers disease.
- There is growing scientific evidence that healthy behaviors, which have been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, may also reduce risk for subjective cognitive decline. Heres 8 ways.
How Do You Know What Stage Of Alzheimer’s Disease A Loved One Is In
The stages of Alzheimers disease presented in this post offer a reasonable framework from which to observe symptoms and understand the progression of the disease. Since there is no medical consensus for Alzheimers stages, as there is with cancer, it is important for caregivers to be aware of the individual symptoms and situation that their patient or loved one is experiencing. While healthcare providers may refer to a patients condition as late or early stage, any specific stage is less important than the context and understanding of what this means for care going forward.
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Stage : Moderately Severe Cognitive Declinemoderate Dementia
In this stage, deficits are of sufficient magnitude as to prevent catastrophe-free, independent community survival. The characteristic functional change in this stage is early deficits in basic activities of daily life. This is manifest in a decrement in the ability to choose the proper clothing to wear for the weather conditions or for everyday circumstances. Some persons with Alzheimers disease begin to wear the same clothing day after day unless reminded to change. The mean duration of this stage is 1.5 years.
The person with Alzheimers disease can no longer manage on their own. There is generally someone who is assisting in providing adequate and proper food, as well as assuring that the rent and utilities are paid and the finances are taken care of. For those who are not properly supervised, predatory strangers may become a problem. Very common reactions for persons at this stage who are not given adequate support are behavioral problems such as anger and suspiciousness.
Cognitively, persons at this stage frequently cannot recall major events and aspects of their current life such as the name of the current head of state, the weather conditions of the day, or their correct current address. Characteristically, some of these important aspects of current life are recalled, but not others. Also, the information is loosely held, so, for example, the person with moderate Alzheimers disease may recall their correct address on certain occasions, but not others.
Seven Stages Of Alzheimers Disease
As a persons cognitive and physical abilities continue to decline, he or she moves through seven stages of Alzheimers disease. Its important to remember the disease progresses differently for each person, and some of the stages may overlap for some people. That said, Alzheimers disease progression follows the same general course for most people:
- Stage 1: No Symptoms. People with Alzheimers likely have the disease for a decade or longer before they begin exhibiting any symptoms. Many people dont know they have Alzheimers disease at this stage.
- Stage 2: Minor Forgetfulness. While older age-related is common, Alzheimers disease is not a normal part of aging. However, memory lapses at this early stage of Alzheimers may not prompt much concern.
- Stage 3: Marked Memory Problems. Forgetfulness at this stage becomes more evident and harder to pass off as age-related. Memory lapses may begin to affect daily life in social or work settings. Decision-making becomes more difficult.
- Stage 4: Cognition Changes. In addition to more noticeable memory lapses, the person may experience cognitive problems with language and organization. People in this stage may experience about what day it is and where they are, and they could wander away or get lost. Personality changes, such as anger and , and increased risk of are common. Poor judgment, especially with financial decisions, becomes evident.
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Stage : Severe Dementia Due To Alzheimers Disease
In the final stage of Alzheimers, mental functions continue to decline and the individual experiences difficulties with movement and physical abilities. They require assistance with most tasks. Many begin to sleep through most of the day and wander at night, although some individuals seem to require very little sleep. As the disease progresses, the individual will spend the majority of their time in bed.
Individuals in this last stage of Alzheimers generally:
- Require assistance with most activities including eating, dressing, grooming, bathing and toileting
- Experience a loss of coherent speech. They come to the point where they can no longer carry on a conversation that makes sense. Eventually, they may not speak at all or may occasionally utter a word or phrase.
- Undergo an increasing decline in physical abilities. They become unable to walk without assistance, then to being unable to sit or hold up their head without support. Muscles can become rigid causing pain when moved. Many individuals with Alzheimers form contractures They develop infantile reflexes such as sucking and laying in a fetal position. They become totally incontinent and eventually lose the ability to swallow.
They may experience more personality and behavior changes including:
Stage : Mild Dementia Due To Alzheimers Disease
The symptoms of Alzheimers disease during this stage are still mild however, close friends and family may begin to notice signs and symptoms of the disease. Work quality will begin to suffer, and the individual is likely to experience problems when trying to learn something new. Although stage three lasts for approximately seven years, symptoms will become more apparent over a span of two to four years. Its during stage three that Alzheimers disease is most often diagnosed, as it becomes apparent to family and medical professionals that the individual is having significant trouble with memory and thinking, so much so, that it impacts day-to-day activities.
In stage three, an individual may require counseling. They may have mild to moderate denial, depression and anxiety. As this stage progresses and their symptoms worsen, they may require caregiving assistance in their home or in a senior care community.
In stage three, individuals may experience:
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