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Day in the Life

Century Park Blog

Coping with Alzheimer’s disease

Date Posted

09/21/2018

Category

Prevention

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Alzheimer’s disease affects 26 million citizens worldwide. While there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s, the effects can be considerably diminished if it’s diagnosed and treated early. By learning the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, you can acknowledge the kinds of behaviors that signify its beginning stages and get your loved one the care he or she needs in order to maximize quality of life.

Symptoms

Many people confuse typical age-related changes with signs of dementia, but as people grow older, they are going to have occasional mishaps. So how do you know if your loved one’s behavior is a result of dementia? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 10 warning signs will let you know to seek a doctor’s opinion.

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life 
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

Stages

Alzheimer’s disease can be categorized into three levels: mild/early, moderate/middle and severe/late. Each has different symptoms and signs.

  •  During the mild/early stage of Alzheimer’s, frequent memory loss of simple discussions and events occurs, questions are repeatedly asked, everyday tasks such as writing become difficult to perform, and depression kicks in, as well as mood swings and apathy.
  • Throughout the moderate/middle stage, continuous memory loss takes place, making it hard to remember personal history or recognize friends and family. Rambling speech, sleep disturbances and confusion also arise. 
  • During the severe/late stage, the ability to care for oneself is gone. Falls, immobility and loss of verbal skills also occur. At this stage, the individual must have around-the-clock care.

Caregiving

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, seek support. Connect with other caregivers and care recipients who know what you are going through. Taking advantage of local support groups is a great way to accomplish this goal. If your community does not offer any type of support programs, alz.org provides message boards and chat rooms where you and your loved one can interact with people in similar situations from the comfort of your own home.

If you are struggling to care for your loved one, realize that sometimes a nursing center is the best place for a person with Alzheimer’s, especially in the later stages. Staff members are trained in caring for people with dementia and have the ability to watch over them around the clock to keep them safe.

It is tragic to see someone you love lose a part of his or her self as a result of a disease. However, by taking steps to ensure your loved one is receiving the right treatment at the right time, you can help him or her hold on to a portion of life that was never meant to be taken away.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s and ways to cope with it, go to helpguide.org, alz.org and nia.nih.gov.

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