When it comes to understanding Alzheimer’s disease, knowledge is power. Learning about Alzheimer’s is an essential part of being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of the disease early, as well as to provide support and resources to those living with it. However, many people don’t know much about Alzheimer’s or what it entails. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available that can teach you everything you need to know so that you could identify warning signs in yourself or your loved ones, which is critical as early diagnosis can improve quality of life. If you want to learn more, keep reading to find out what Alzheimer’s disease is and how it affects patients.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder that affects an individual’s mental abilities such as memory and thinking. It is the most common form of dementia among older adults, although it can affect people in their 40s or 50s in rare cases. As of yet, scientists have not identified a single cause for Alzheimer’s disease but rather multiple contributing factors to its development. These include age-related changes to the brain, genetics, and environmental risk factors. Alzheimer’s organizations can teach you more about the condition and how to find out if you have Alzheimer’s.
Coping with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be a difficult and trying process, both for the person receiving the diagnosis and their loved ones. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are many resources available to manage its symptoms. Persons affected by this condition should seek out medical care from a team of professionals that specialize in managing dementia-related conditions. This team may include primary care physicians, neurologists, psychologists, and other medical experts who can provide support throughout all stages of the illness.
Doctors typically use a combination of tests and procedures to make a diagnosis, including a medical history and physical exam, lab tests, and brain imaging. Doctors may also conduct tests to assess a person’s cognitive function, including tests of memory, language, problem-solving ability, and attention span.
How can you Support a Loved one with Alzheimer’s?
Now that you know more about Alzheimer’s disease, let’s discuss what you can do to support a loved one with Alzheimer’s. For example, it’s a good idea to invest in home modifications for accessibility. Some common home modifications that can be made for Alzheimer’s patients include:
- Installing grab bars in the bathroom
- Adding non-slip mats in the shower and bath
- Installing a ramp or stair lift for those who have difficulty walking
- Placing clocks and calendars in visible locations
- Removing tripping hazards like wires and cords
If you’re not sure what changes to make, talk to your loved one’s doctor to create a remodeling plan.
There’s no doubt that socialization is an integral element of life for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, even if it can be challenging at times. The truth is that research has shown that socialization can noticeably improve the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s, and can even slow the progression of the disease. Socialization helps to keep the brain active and engaged, as well as providing a sense of purpose.
It also reduces the risk of depression, which is common among people with Alzheimer’s. As you can see, Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating and progressive neurological disorder that can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families. It is crucial to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease in order to support those affected and to work towards finding a cure.
If you notice any of these red flags, talk to a doctor as soon as possible to discuss an evaluation. You can further improve the life of a loved one with Alzheimer’s by taking steps like renovating the home to make it more accessible and socializing with them as often as you’re able to do so.