What To Expect: Alzheimer’s

Introduction to Alzheimer’s

Aging can be a lot of things, but few things make it harder than aging with Alzheimer’s. It’s a progressive disease that accounts for a vast majority of dementia cases in the United States. As a late developing disease (only 4–5% of cases occur before the age of 65), Alzheimer’s is something that many people have to battle with as they age. LifeLinks has been and will always aim to transform the aging process from one of fear and frustration to one of reconciliation and making good memories. A great way to make that transformation is to know what to expect and know how to treat something as confounding as Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms

There are many different ways people choose to view this complex disease. Some view it in a seven stage classification, but for the purpose of this article Alzheimer’s will be viewed through the three stage lense: mild (early-stage), moderate (middle-stage), and severe (late-stage). In an early-stage Alzheimer’s case, a person can remain independent. Your aging loved one can continue activities like driving or working during early stages. However, it’s not uncommon for a person with mild Alzheimer’s to experience lapses in memory, like where they put their keys, or forgetting common words. For middle-stage Alzheimer’s patients, symptoms start getting worse. This is the longest stage and can be expected to last a span of multiple years. As it progresses, you might start to see behavioral changes in your aging loved one’s everyday life. They may forget where they are or where they were going, or they may refuse to bathe or have drastic mood swings. In the last stage, late-stage, it’s not unusual for them to require full-time 24/7 care. Short-term memory becomes very hit and miss, and expressing their thoughts can be anywhere from difficult to impossible.

Preventative Measures

This can all sound overwhelming, and sometimes it is. But there are preventative measures that can be taken. Pairing a healthy diet with an active lifestyle has been shown to correlate with better health at later stages of life, and can decrease the rate at which Alzheimer’s progresses. Staying engaged socially can also help. Isolation as your loved one ages only exacerbates the symptoms. Lastly, keeping the brain active by engaging in mentally stimulating activities helps keep an aging mind sharp. Games like chess and checkers or puzzles like sudoko and crosswords can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Connect

For more information on research being done for finding an Alzheimer’s cure look here:

http://bit.ly/seekingacure

http://bit.ly/seekingacure2

To donate to Alzheimer’s Research click here: http://www.curealz.org