While some treatments are being introduced to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s, currently there is no cure. About 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. This number is expected to rise dramatically over the next few decades. No one wants to hear they have this debilitating disease; it can be frightening and full of unknowns. For family members, the news usually invokes the same response.
The first question… What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It makes up approximately three quarters of all dementia cases. It is commonly found in the elderly, but a small percentage of people are diagnosed as young as 40. One of the misconceptions about this disease is that it is a normal part of the aging process. The notion that everyone will eventually get dementia as we get older is wrong. Many believe that Alzheimer’s is something mild, like forgetting where your car keys are, or forgetting someone’s name from time to time. The fact is that Alzheimer’s symptoms do gradually get worse with time and eventually lead to death. By the time symptoms present themselves, the average life expectancy is approximately ten years. Though, there have been cases of people living more than 20 years after diagnosis.
Being aware of the signs early can help give you a head start on what to expect. A disruption in daily life due to memory loss is easily one of the first and most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Short term memory is affected more than long term; anything that has just been learned, such as someone’s name can be immediately forgotten. Having more trouble than usual working basic objects around the house like the radio or television can be a telltale sign of the disease. Post-It notes and reminders can be crucial to help remember dates, names, or phone numbers.
One of the most difficult symptoms of Alzheimer’s for the patient and their loved ones is difficulty with conversation. During a simple encounter, an afflicted person may stop speaking midway through because they don’t know how to continue their thought. They may begin to speak differently, forgetting certain words and repeating what they had just said. Mood swings, anxiety, and fear of their surroundings can lead its victims becoming more and more reclusive. Many times, they do not want to go out into public and avoid social settings.
Treatment is available to help reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s like memory loss, behavioral problems, and sleep changes. Medications can help, but they will not reverse or stop the process. For spouses and other loved ones, watching over them can be a full-time job. Visiting Angels sees the frustration and feeling of hopelessness first hand. They are an in-home care agency that helps with daily chores, hygiene, running errands, and medical reminders.
If you have any question regarding Alzheimer’s or the assistance that you can receive from an agency like Visiting Angels, you can contact then at (941) 347-8288. Their commitment to caregiving is unparalleled and they will come into your home to evaluate your specific needs.
800-365-4189 . www.visitingangels.com