Dementia and Alzheimer ’s are often used interchangeably. However, these two are not the same. While dementia is an overall term to describe symptoms that affect daily activities including performance, memory and the ability to communicate properly, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia which mainly impacts thought, language and memory, and it also gets worse over time. It is the most common form of dementia. Dementia or Alzheimer’s can affect young people but the risk increases significantly with aging.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia is considered a syndrome, that is, it has no definite diagnosis. It can occur as a result of many factors and diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease. Even nutrient deficiency and drug side-effects may give rise to dementia symptoms. Under some conditions, dementia may be reversed by determining the underlying cause and treating it. Unlike some forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible and often degenerates with time.
Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease progresses in three stages:
Stage 1 (Mild): At the initial stage, people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease tend to lose spontaneity and energy. However, these symptoms are hardly noticeable. Also, mood swings and minor memory loss, such as misplacing keys or getting lost, often occur. After some time, they’ll begin to avoid new things and stick to what they are familiar with most. Understanding and speech may become slower. At this point of the disease, a senior with Alzheimer’s may be able to perform basic day to day tasks by themselves. However, they might need a little assistance for the more complicated activities.
Stage 2 (Moderate): Eventually, seniors with Alzheimer’s disease will begin to show serious symptoms. Though they may have the recollection of distant memories, recent events may become blurry. Alzheimer’s disease may affect a senior’s ability to comprehend time and locations. Seniors will need some form of assistance at this stage. They can be helped by encouraging them to stay active and offering them help whenever they need it.
Stage 3 (Severe): At this final stage, the patient becomes more unresponsive. Their memory loss could become so serve that they may not recognize anyone, even very close family members. The patient loses control of their bladder and bowel movements and will eventually need constant caregiving services. They may become bedridden and lose their swallowing abilities.
At what stage do you seek professional help?
When Alzheimer’s disease is still in its early stages, occasional care is sometimes needed, but seniors can mostly manage themselves. Professional help should be sought when symptoms of stage 2 show up. This is to enable your loved one to get a proper diagnosis and healthcare intervention as necessary. In addition, moderate to severe level of Alzheimer require a dedicated caregiver.
How Caregiving Services Can Help
Effective symptoms monitoring
Alzheimer’s disease gets worse with age. Having a caregiver will ensure the symptoms of a senior suffering from the disease are closely monitored. Professional caregiver’s frequent communication and routine checks will help seniors reduce avoidable hospital admissions that may result from secondary effects of Alzheimer’s.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease often have a poor eating habit. They may be confused with food choices and also forget to eat at the right time. Homecare professionals can help seniors maintain a healthy eating habit which is essential for optimal health.
Physical activities are vital for healthy living at all life stages. It is even more important for seniors due to their slower metabolism which causes them to develop health complications due to inactivity. Professional caregivers have the relevant knowledge and skill to ensure that your loved one gets regular and safe exercises.
Alzheimer’s disease can take an emotional and financial toll on families. With the right caregivers like those from AmeriCare, seniors can maintain a decent quality of life. AmeriCare has professional caregivers who are trained to handle the various needs of seniors who are suffering from the different stages of Alzheimer’s. You may not be able to restore your loved one to full health, but you can improve their living condition by getting them the care they need.