Alzheimer’s. We understand that this is a very scary word, especially when the person you love is diagnosed with this disease. It’s hard to understand how it happened to your loved one, let alone what the disease itself is like. Though we can’t say for sure why this tragic disease occurred in your loved one, we can help you understand Alzheimer’s. Here are the basics to understanding what this disease is like.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disorder that causes a decline in memory, thinking abilities, and eventually the ability to perform daily tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia (memory loss and other cognitive abilities that are serious enough to hinder daily activities), and it accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. The exact cause of Alzheimer’s is unknown, but it does involve complex brain changes. Certain abnormal protein deposits in the brain are believed to play a role in damaging brain cells, and factors that may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease include genetics, lifestyle factors, and environmental influences.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s typically starts with mild memory loss and confusion. From there, it progresses and worsens over time.
Although symptoms may differ from person to person, what you can expect from Alzheimer’s disease includes:
- forgetting recent events
- difficulty with problem-solving and planning
- getting lost in familiar places
- misplacing items and losing the ability to retrace steps
- confusion with time or place
- difficulty with language
- poor judgment
- changes in mood and personality
- social withdrawal
- and in some extreme cases, hallucinations and delusions
Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s
To test for Alzheimer’s, physicians will use the patient’s medical history, mental status tests, physical and neurological exams, diagnostic tests, and brain imaging to determine an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are treatments that help slow the worsening of symptoms and help improve the quality of life for the patient and the caregiver. But, there is hope. Ongoing research into Alzheimer’s disease continues to explore new treatments and prevention strategies.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you need help taking care of them, we provide home care services and caregiving for elderly loved ones specializing in dementia care. Contact us and schedule an appointment for a free home care consultation.