November 20, 2016
Understanding Alzheimer’s and Caring for a Loved One
The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act is designed to fill coverage gaps left by Medicare, and encourages doctors to help their patients plan for the long-term care the disease requires
Alzheimer’s disease is a serious medical condition that affects a persons cognitive functions. There are often personality changes, loss of bodily functions and memory issues which causes difficulty with daily activities. It often occurs with the elderly, but also happens to younger people, called early onset. It’s one of the most common illnesses in the senior population.
Alzheimer’s Disease Stages
Alzheimer’s goes from mild stages to more severe stages over a course of time. More serious medical problems occur because the body loses important functions like feeding, using the bathroom and loss of independence.
There are three stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In the early stage, the patient still functions independently, but they begin to lose their cognition. The mid-stage is when they are semi-dependent on the caregiver and have memory and self-identity problems with personality changes. The late stage is severe and they are fully dependent on the caregiver. The disease is highly progressive.
Patients with Alzheimer’s begin to misplace common, important things. They will start having issues with talking and remembering their own native language. They begin to lose memory, causing them to forget or even become unable to recognize family members. They will lose their happiness, patience, or desire for things that they used to enjoy doing. Their judgment skills will become non-existent. Patients will forget life skills, such as cooking, dressing and doing familiar tasks.
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Socially inappropriate behavior
- Depression, anxiety and irritability,
- Lack of judgment and abstract thinking
People with Alzheimer’s have understandable issues with accepting their disease. They may blame others or deny it. This is frustrating for all concerned. The person deserves proper treatment, with love, respect, patience and kindness.
During the middle stage of Alzheimer’s, the patient will start to forget who they are and all the things that they used to do. The person usually lives from 3-20 years after diagnosis. They will require help from a caregiver which is costly. They will need a loved one to help plan things out financially for them.
Full-time care is important in the late stages. During this time, the patient needs help with using the restroom and eating because they will forget to do these things alone. Their body is unable to do so automatically anymore. This is upsetting for the family. Caregiver stress is common. Asking for help from others is an important part of the entire plan for their care.
When caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, tell them when its time for an activity. Always explain what you are doing slowly and carefully so they have a better chance of understanding. Even if this seems silly to you, keep in mind that they are having trouble remembering. The unknown is frightening and causes negative behaviors to develop. If they refuse care, make sure it isn’t because they don’t understand you. If they insist on fighting you every step of the way, take a deep breath, walk away and try again at a later time.
The Debilitating Effect of Alzheimer’s Disease for Michigan Seniors
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most debilitating diseases. It is sadly very common and there is no known cure. Although Alzheimer’s cannot kill the body directly, it does basically destroy the brain, the control center of all bodily functions. When a persons vital body organs malfunctions, then the person will eventually pass away.
There are medications that help slow down the symptoms of the disease. A medication called Donepezil blocks certain enzymes, which is widely used in hospitals and nursing homes for this reason. There are many other medications which work on the same principles using different scientific ideas.
Planning and Protecting Against the Long-term Care Cost of Alzheimer’s
Hey, by the way… Here’s something I think will really interest you. It’s a *very* meaty Free Report all about what anyone who is caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s needs to know. It’s titled “Alzheimer’s Legal Guide” and you can grab it for free here.