Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that progress and worsens over time. This disease is responsible for over 70% of all dementia cases. This disease presents with symptoms such as deterioration of the memory, and also the impairment in reasoning, making executive decisions, speaking and language, perception, a sudden change in mood, confusion and so on. People affected by this disease also tend to isolate themselves from people. They look for every opportunity to not engage in social interactions. Body functions might be lost, especially as the disease progresses. It mostly affects old adults, usual people above the age of 70. The older one gets the more chances of having the Alzheimer’s disease. People affected by the disease are expected to live for between 3 to 9 years after the diagnosis. The exact cause of this disease isn’t known yet, however, there are some factors that contribute to its development. The most important of them all is genetics. According to statistics, it’s responsible for about 70% of all cases of Alzheimer. Other risk factors associated with this disease are a traumatic injury to the head, long-term hypertension, and depression. There are no treatments for this disease yet, neither is there any medication that can reverse the progression of the disease. However, some of the symptoms can be improved. This can be done by assisting the affected individual. Apparently, they become reliant on friends and families to survive. It’s most important to get a caregiver, that would assist help to improve their social, physical and psychological elements. The way to care for Alzheimer’s patients at home would be explained subsequently. However, it’s important to know the basic things about the disease, before a proper care can be given.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s Disease?
The disease can be grouped into four stages. These are
- Pre-dementia stage: The signs and symptoms of this stage are often mistaken for old age. Sometimes, the symptoms can go on for many years without the patient or his family noticing. However, the most prominent symptom of this stage is the loss of memory. This usually presents as short-term memory loss. They find it difficult remembering some things they learnt recently, and also can learn new information. As the disease progresses, they also have problems executing some tasks they could do before without difficulty. Their thinking is affected, and this shows in the way they think. They become rigid with their thoughts and ideas. In addition to this, they have a problem focusing, and often displays apathy. This usually goes on throughout the course of the disease. Depressive symptoms might show up in the later part of the pre-dementia stage.
- The early stage of Alzheimer’s disease: The impairment of the memory of the people affected by the disease increases at this stage. Also, memory becomes more profound. These two features are enough to lead to a definitive diagnosis in most cases. In addition to the symptoms above, a small fraction of people would have symptoms such as speech and language difficulty, deterioration in making executing their daily tasks, impairment in their movement. Patients usually have a reduction in the number of words they use in communicating. Their ability to use various words in communicating becomes significantly reduced. Their writing skill is also affected. Even with these symptoms, they’re usually still able to pass on basic information adequately. They might experience some subtle difficulty in performing some motor functions such as buttoning their shirts, writing, or climbing the staircase. They can perform some tasks on their own, but they need regular monitoring.
- Moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease: People affected by this disease eventually becomes unable to carry out their daily activities independently. Speech impairment becomes significant, primarily due to their inability to remember vocabularies. They also lose the ability to write and read progressively. The impairment of their motor centers might cause they have frequent falls. Memory loss worsens; this might become so bad that they would not be able to identify their close relatives. As opposed to the early stage, both the short and long-term memories become degenerates at this stage. They also experience changes in their behavior. As an illustration, they become very irritable, and tend to have wandering thoughts, which might make them aggressive, and even reject the help of caregivers. In addition, they might also experience problems in other systems such as in the renal system. Some patients usually complain of urinary incontinence.
- Advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease: This is the last and most severe stage of the disease. Patients depend totally on the help of caregivers. Most people affected by this disease would experience a complete loss of speech, and ability to make sentences. However, they’re usually still able to understand words, gestures and emotional signals. Other symptoms experienced include aggressiveness, apathy, and exhaustion. They would lack the ability to perform the tasks they’d do without stress before they had the disease. Probably because of disuse, their muscles will begin to atrophy. The cause of cause of death is usually due to diseases such as an infection like pneumonia or ulcer.
How To Care For Alzheimer’s Patients At Home
Taking care of Alzheimer’s patients requires a lot of patience, diligence, effort, and flexibility. This is because they become more apathy and aggressive as the disease progresses. You have to know that, this is not who they are, the disease has impaired their ability to properly react or act. However, these tips and ideas would help to deal with frustration that you might encounter when dealing with them, or just giving taking care of them;
- Be patient: Caregivers must understand that dealing with Alzheimer’s patients might be slow in doing things. They usually take longer doing things that should take less time.
- Plan properly: It’s best to plan some activities like bathing or dressing to when the patient is still refreshed and relaxed. This could be in the morning.
- Don’t be hard on them
- Make your instructions simple: Processing a lot of information is difficult for them. Make your instructions as simple as possible.
- Don’t make them too reliant: Don’t do everything for them, particularly when they’re capable of performing an activity themselves. The more you engage them, the better for them
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