Alzheimer’s Care – Understanding the Disease and Dementia Care

Alzheimer’s Affecting Seniors

Alzheimer’s (AHLZ-high-merz) disease is a progressive brain disorder.  The disease gradually destroys a person’s memory.  Alzheimer’s care is a common term used to describe the disease process.  A person’s ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities is affected.  As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals may also experience changes in personality and behavior.  Some mood changes are anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations. With the aging population, the search for quality, affordable Alzheimer’s Care & Assisted Living is prevalent. Caregivers can utilize websites like SilverCensus to understand the disease management process and how to cope.

Memory Impairment Induced by Medication or Illness

Some times individuals may experience memory loss due to an illness like a UTI or as a side effect of certain medication.  As we age, it is critical to speak openly with your physician and identify the cognitive mental status of the individual in needing an evaluation.

Paying for an Alzheimer’s Care Assisted Living

If you are caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairment there are a number of care solutions.  One option is relocation to a secured Alzheimer’s Care Community.  If  your loved one is physically capable of transferring, then a secured memory care community may be appropriate.   Purchasing a long term care insurance policy may cover part of the monthly cost of room and board with care however for the most part, health insurance does NOT cover assisted living and required payment is done privately through personal funds.

Why Consider a Secured Alzheimer’s Care Community

Secured memory care communities allow trained health care professionals to care for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairment to live in a safe environment.  Most memory care communities offer cognitive programs and activities designed to stimulate the mind and body.  When considering a secure memory care community, be sure to ask for weekly activities that are designed to encourage daily activities.

What to Expect from a Alzheimer’s Care Community

A secure memory care assisted living community should not feel or look like an institiution. Most are designed using proven techniques such as memory boxes, specialized lighting and hand rails to create a calm living environment.

What do most Memory Care Communities look like?

For the most part, most centers esthetically resemble a home like enviroment with separate or shared apartments.  Generally there is a common dining room with kitchen that allow trained caregivers to tend to daily meals while overseeing meal consumption and nutrition.

Care at secured faciity allow family members to enter and leave the facility with an assigned passcode.

Nursing Care at a Memory Care Assisted Living Center

At a memory care assisted living center, family can rest assured that a clinical nurse is supervising the general health of a resident.   Most centers have visiting doctors come to see the residents utlizing the Wellness Center on property.  Housecall physicians see the residents where medical services are paid for by the resident’s insurance however coordinated by the wellness center nurse.

Security at a Alzheimer’s  Care Center

A secure memory specific assisted living center allows caregivers the freedom to enter the community utlizing a security pad which requires a passcode to enter and exit the community; therefore residents cannot exit freely.   These dementia specific centers offer a home-like secure environment.   Assistance with daily living tasks for most communities are separate monthly fee based on the care level of the resident in addition to the monthly rental fee however some communities do offer a flat rate for all levels of care.

Treatment for Alzheimer’s Care

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, new treatments are on the horizon as a result of accelerating insight into the biology of the disease. Research has also shown that effective care and support can improve quality of life for individuals and their caregiver.

Accessing a Clinical Trials for Alzheimer’s disease

If you feel you or a loved one could benefit from a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s care it is best to discuss this option with your primary care physician.  Based on your health care insurance he/she may refer you to a neurologist that specializes in memory impairments.  The neurologist may participate in a clinical trial or perhaps can refer you to a clinic that works with trials.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Alzheimer’s Disease and Senior Care Options

Here are a few frequently questions on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care that you may find helpful:

History & Facts of Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. It involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. and language. Alzheimer’s damages a person’s ability to reason, remember, speak, perform simple calculations, and carry out routine tasks.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person’s memory, thinking, and reasoning skills.

How many people suffer from Alzheimer’s?

It is estimated that up to 4.5 million people.

What is the most common age of Alzheimer’s onset?

Symptoms first appear after age 65. About 3 percent of men and women ages 65 to 74 have the disease, but nearly half of those age 85 and older.

What are the stages of Alzheimer’s?

The symptoms often progress through these stages: mild, moderate, and severe.

What are the causes of Alzheimer’s?

Although scientists do not yet fully understand the cause of Alzheimer’s, age is the most known risk factor.

Who has a higher risk of Alzheimer’s? Men or Women?

Associating age with Alzheimer’s, women have a longer lifespan than men, therefore making the lifetime risk, higher in women. A reason study in 2013 predicts, one out of six women will be diagnosed with the disease.

How long does Alzheimer’s disease last?

Patients who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease live for 8 to 10 years following diagnosis.

What are some signs and/or symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

There are many signs of Alzheimer’s. A few signs may include misplacing your keys, problems with judgment, daily problems with thinking or memory, trouble remembering appointments, or repeating the same things over and over.

Is memory loss normal?

Memory loss can be a normal part of aging.  Certain ailments like UTI can affect the memory if untreated.  Any other memory loss that is more serious can be a sign of: Mild cognitive impairment, Dementia, or Alzheimer’s.

What are considered mild symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

Mild symptoms include: Forgetfulness, difficulty solving problems, getting lost in familiar places, problems with concentration, and/or frequently repeating questions.

What are considered moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

Moderate symptoms include: Inappropriate behavior, the loss of some communication skills, and/or difficulty performing everyday tasks.

What are considered severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

Severe symptoms include: Little or no memory, incontinence, becoming bedridden, and/or diminished ability to think or reason.

Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

Are there any preventative steps that can be taken for Alzheimer’s?

There is no medical consumption that can prevent Alzheimer’s. There are a few steps that people can use such as: lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, a healthy diet, exercising, and stimulating the mind.

Is an early detection important for Alzheimer’s?

Yes. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better chance you have in managing the symptoms, and allowing people to continue day to day life.

Is physical activity helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s?

Although there is no proven evidence of physical activity helping Alzheimer’s, physical therapy may improve mental functions of the brain.

If a family member has Alzheimer’s, am I at risk?

There are two types of Alzheimer’s disease: Early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD), and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. FAD occurs between the ages of 30 and 60.

Who should I go to if I suspect I may have Alzheimer’s?

Your first step should be to see your family physician or your internist.  Your physician will then run some tests to determine the continuation of an evaluation process. He or she may recommend further evaluation by a Neurologist which may specialize in memory impairement.

Does less engagement with other people affect Alzheimer’s disease?

Yes. It could result in earlier onset of symptoms.

Alzheimer’s Care – The Disease and Treatment

How is Alzheimer’s diagnosed?

Alzheimer’s is diagnosed by many different tools. These tools include a complete medical history and tests that measure the memory. The ability to problem solve, count, speak, and possibly medical tests that include, urine, spinal fluid, and blood samples.

How is Alzheimer’s treated?

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. However, there are medications that can help prevent some symptoms from becoming worse.

How accurate are the tests done for Alzheimer’s?

Doctors can now diagnose Alzheimer’s with 90% accuracy.

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