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Alzheimer’s disease is a very serious condition that everyone must be aware of. Unfortunately, the condition is now widespread all over the globe. And in the United States alone, there are already 5.6 million Americans who are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
According to studies, this number will even triple its value in 2060. And this only goes to show that we now need to take a much closer look at the condition to understand it better and may even prevent it in the future.
The Very First Signs of Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s Disease or AD is the most common form of dementia. It is worth noting that dementia is the overall term for various kinds of memory-related conditions. Even the decline of cognitive functions is also involved. You or your loved ones may be developing an onset Alzheimer’s disease if the following is becoming more evident on a daily basis:
- Memory Loss
- Vision Loss
- Difficulty in finding words
- Misplacing items all the time
- Experiencing mood, behavior, and personality changes
- Difficulty in solving complex problems
Keep in mind that Alzheimer’s disease is not part of aging. However, specialists note that, as you age, the risks of obtaining its increase. Also, if one or more in your family has AD, than the risk also increases.
The 7 Stages of Alzheimer's
Based on experts, there are seven stages of Alzheimer’s:
- No Impairment
In this stage, any sign or symptom is not detectable.
- Very Mild Decline
During this stage, the person may already start losing items inside the house. Even so, the disease may still not be evident, even for specialists.
- Mild Decline
The third stage is normally the time when loved ones will notice a few signs of Alzheimer’s. Experts claim that people, especially seniors, who are in “Stage 3” are already experiencing difficulties in finding the right words, organizing and planning, and recalling or remembering names.
- Moderate Decline
The symptoms are already apparent. People who are in this stage normally experience, having difficulties in solving simple math problems, remembering short-term memories, recalling past events, and managing simple finance like bills.
- Moderately Severe Decline
People who have moderately severe decline, Alzheimer’s disease may already start to need the assistance of others. This is because, at this stage, they have already experienced significant confusion and difficulties in changing clothes.
- Severe Decline
During this stage, people who are in the sixth stage already need professional care, such as a memory care home, and constant supervision. The symptoms that they experience include the unawareness of surroundings and environment, inability to remember details of personal history as well as acquaintances, loss of bladder control, frequent wandering.
- Very Severe Decline
The seventh and final stage is the terminal case of Alzheimer’s disease. And since it is terminal, the people who are in this stage are already nearing death. The symptoms largely include the loss of ability to communicate and loss of insight about the condition. Also, there are cases that people in this stage may forget the ability to swallow.
The Impact of Alzheimer's on Caregivers
The impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on caregivers is almost always in line with physical, mental, and emotional strain. It is not unusual for AD caregivers to experience tremendous pain, anger, guilt, depression, and other emotions.
According to research, taking care of AD patients can lead to experiencing various emotions. And this is just normal despite the negative impact on the caregivers.
The caregivers in this aspect are not only referring to the professional and licensed caregivers. In general, people who take care of AD patients, whether a relative or a loved one, are referred to as caregivers. And the impacts stated above largely affect them as well.
How To Limit Challenges and Ease Frustration While Taking Care of Alzheimer's Patients
Taking care of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease is very challenging and difficult. In fact, even specialists and nurses from several memory care facilities for seniors attest to this. Even so, there are still ways to limit the challenges and ease the frustration effectively.
Here are some of the best ways that you may apply:
- Make a schedule for everything
- Anticipate that tasks and activities may require more time
- Reduce distractions to maintain focus and concentration
- Always involve the patient
- Provide the simplest of instructions
- Provide choices
- The Bottom Line
Alzheimer’s Disease, as mentioned, is a very serious condition. It requires tremendous patience, time, and effort to take good care of people who suffer from the said disease. While the challenges and difficulties are very apparent, these things should be well-comprehended by everyone. In the end, without caregivers, it will be much more difficult, and even daunting as per experts.
So, all in all, everyone must be appreciative of the work of a caregiver, especially if the patients are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. And on the other hand, everyone must also be considerate and thoughtful of the patient’s condition.