If you have an aging spouse or elderly parent, you may become their sole caregiver due to different medical conditions. While surprising to learn, an estimated 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease. This condition may seem to affect your elderly loved one's memory only, but it can actually affect their physical and emotional well-being. Not only will Alzheimer's disease wreak havoc on the sufferer's life, but it can also affect you and the rest of the family. Unfortunately, you may not be familiar with the different signs of Alzheimer's disease. Using this guide, you will understand the signs of this serious condition and learn the best techniques to care for your loved one with Alzheimer's disease.
The 411 on Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a condition that destroys a person's brain cells, causing mostly memory loss, but it also damages other key areas of the brain. Many people associate the disease with aging, but it is not a normal part of the natural aging process. Since Alzheimer's disease is progressive, it will worsen over time.
Signs of Alzheimer's Disease
Your elderly loved one may show early signs of this disease, which will become more serious over time. Thankfully, understanding the various signs of the disease can help you find the best care and treatment for your loved one. Here are a few early signs of Alzheimer's disease:
- Loss of Memory
- Difficulty Planning and Solving Simple Tasks
- Confusing Common Locations
- Problems Understanding Time
- Vision Impairments
- Difficulty Speaking and Reading
- Misplacing Items or Locations
- Socialization Issues
- Withdrawal and Depression
Over time, these early symptoms will become more overwhelming for you and your loved one with the disease. Your loved one will feel frustrated due to their loss of mental capabilities, so they may act out in anger towards you and other family members or caregivers.
Your loved one with Alzheimer's will eventually lose their ability to use the restroom, bathe, groom, and get in and out of bed on their own. Due to these challenges, your loved one will require full time care.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for this progressive disease. However, certain medications may decrease the progression of your loved one's Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease destroys neurotransmitters inside the brain, reducing your loved one's overall brain function. Cholinesterase inhibitors may be prescribed to improve neurotransmitters in your loved one's brain, decreasing the speed of the disease's progression. However, these medications do cause side effects, which may not be pleasant. Your loved one may see some improvement with memory and brain function, but they may also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cardiovascular problems.
Tips for Providing Care to your Loved One
If you will become part of the 10 million people over the age of 50 that become full-time caregivers for elderly parents, you may experience a great deal of physical, emotional, and financial stress. Thankfully, reducing this stress is possible.
Ensuring your loved one is safe should be your first priority as their caregiver. Install safety bars in the bathroom by the toilet and inside the bathtub or shower. This will give your loved one some independence while they are still capable of using the restroom and bathing.
Provide your loved one with mobility aids, as well. Walkers are great options for patients with Alzheimer's disease because they are easier to operate compared to motorized scooters.
Be sure to keep doors locked and hide your loved one's keys. This will prevent them from the danger of leaving the house, becoming lost, and operating a vehicle.
Ease your loved one's emotional distress with the following tips that may help them remember healthier times in their life:
- Play Favorite Music
- Watch Home Videos
- Glance through Photo Albums
- Cook Favorite Meals
- Visit Favorite Places
Alzheimer's disease is a serious condition that can affect the entire family. Using this guide, you will have a better understanding of this disease and learn how to properly treat and care for your loved one with Alzheimer's.
For more information and help, contact different medical professionals and at home healthcare companies, such as Always Dependable, who can help you care for your loved one.