Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia and it causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior that can often impact even the simplest activities of daily living. Alzheimer’s disease is the most frequently diagnosed type of dementia and symptoms usually develop slowly and get progressively worse over time. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases.
If you suspect that your loved one may be exhibiting early signs of Alzheimer's disease, it is best that you schedule a time for them to see a doctor. Doctors can perform blood tests for signs of vitamin B-12 deficiency, which is one way to help doctors to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Based on the results of the tests, your doctor may refer you to see a Neurologist, who can test things like thinking and processing ability. It is important not to assume the worst simply because you or a loved one has had some memory lapses that may be attributed to the normal aging process.
Here is a list of 10 things you will want to consider as early warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:
1. Memory Loss that disrupts daily life
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or during leisure
4. Confusion with time or place
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8. Decreased or poor judgement
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
10. Changes in mood or personality
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If you catch it in the early stages, there are drugs that can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, however there are currently no cures. There are two types of medications that help with time and memory loss symptoms, as well as other cognitive changes. These two types of medications are:
Cholinesterase inhibitors – this medication works by helping to boost levels of cell-to-cell communication by providing neurotransmitters to depleted areas in the brain. The improvement is considered to be modest, but improvement was seen with symptoms of agitation and depression.
Memantine (Namenda) – this medication works in brain cell communication and helps to slow the progression of symptoms with moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Memantine is also sometimes used in combination with cholinesterase inhibitors, which can increase its effectiveness.
Creating a safe and supportive environment is also important to treating Alzheimer’s disease. For someone that is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, establishing and strengthening a routine can help to reinforce habits and minimize memory demanding tasks. Below are a few examples of how you can create strong routines to help support a loved one that has been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease:
1. Keep things like keys, wallets, phones and other valuable in the same place, so they can be easily retrieved.
2. Carry a smartphone that has GPS capabilities, so that you can immediately find someone if they get lost or walk away from home.
3. Schedule reoccurring appointments for the same days and the same times.
4. Remove clutter and excess furniture from the home.
5. Install railings and handrails in hallways and on steps.
6. Remove excess mirrors, as reflections may confuse or startle Alzheimer’s suffers.
7. Keep photographs and meaningful objects around the home.
8. Ensure shoes and slippers have adequate traction to reduce slipping and falls.
At some point, Alzheimer's disease will make it necessary to receive professional residential care. However, that does not mean that the person suffering from Alzheimer's disease has to lose their dignity in the process. It's best to plan for the challenges in advance, during the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. This allows them to take part in the treatment process and also allows them a say in the type of care that they will receive. B-Homecare understands that this is a difficult disease and a difficult process and that is why we want to be available to answer any and all questions that you may have regarding Alzheimer's disease. You can learn more or contact B-Homecare at www.BHomecare.net
If you would like to learn more about how B-Homecare can help you or your loved one, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. You are not committed to any services by speaking with one of our knowledgeable staff. We would be excited to be help you to learn more and welcome the opportunity to try to help!
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