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Guide to Understanding Alzheimer’s

Guide to Understanding Alzheimer’s

If a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s, or even if you simply want to be prepared for the possibility, you will likely have many questions. For example: What is Alzheimer’s, how does it develop, how do you manage it, and what is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

These are the questions we are most commonly asked about Alzheimer’s at Four Oaks Healthcare. So we have put together this guide to answer all of your questions, and equip you with the knowledge you need to make decisions about care.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that affects memory, behaviour and other mental functions in the patient. As brain cell connections and even the brain cells degenerate and die, memory loss and confusion become increasingly common.

Alzheimer’s disease, also known as senile dementia, is a type of neurological disorder that eventually makes it difficult for the patient to carry out simple tasks. It generally affects the elderly, and there is currently no cure.

What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, called senile dementia. Dementia encompasses diseases that affect the brain directly. Therefore, there are no specific differences between them, as Alzheimer’s falls under the Dementia umbrella. 

How does Alzheimer’s develop? 

There is no proven theory as to why Alzheimer’s develops and how. However, there are a number of substantiated hypotheses. These generally look to the combination of age-related changes in the brain and genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors as the cause for the progressive development of Alzheimer’s.

It is also believed to be caused by an abnormal build-up of proteins in and around the brain cells. This may be the cause of the severed connections and degeneration of the cells themselves.  

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

As Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative disease, symptoms change over time. If you are reading this post, you are likely seeking information on the symptoms of beginning or mild Alzheimer’s. This is the stage where Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, and these symptoms include: 

  • Memory loss
  • Repeating questions
  • Struggling or taking longer to complete simple tasks
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Losing and misplacing things
  • Wandering around and getting lost or confused
  • Poor judgement

How can you manage Alzheimer’s? 

As previously mentioned, Alzheimer’s cannot be cured, but it can be well managed. You may find it beneficial and at some point necessary to invest in specialist dementia care. This will ensure that your loved one can continue to have a fulfilled life, and you will no longer bear full responsibility for the patient, which can be taxing on any individual.

However, there is much that you can do to ensure the comfort of a loved one with Alzheimer’s before deciding on professional care. Here are some tips to help you care for someone with Alzheimer’s:

  • Have a daily routine so that the person knows what to expect
  • Speak simply and only ask one question at a time
  • Try not to show your frustration
  • Reassure the person that they are safe and you’re there to help
  • Play the music they like, and sing and dance with them if they enjoy that
  • Use humour where possible
  • Give them the space and time to enjoy the activities they like, such as walking or painting

Need professional help?

Specialist help can be extremely helpful for both the patient and their family. If you are considering live-in care, contact us today. We offer free consultations and will be happy to help you determine the best course of action.

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