Recognizing Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Alzheimer’s dementia impacts over 5 million people nationally. It disrupts brain function, often causing significant detrimental and cognitive physical impairments. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. It is a progressive disease which involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. It often begins after the age of 60 with mild memory loss and can lead to the loss of one’s ability to carry on conversation and to respond to one’s environment. It can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Although scientists are learning more every day, right now they still do not know what causes Alzheimer’s disease. The probability is there’s not one single cause, but several factors that affect every person differently. Age is the best known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe that genetics can play a role in developing Alzheimer’s disease. They are also studying whether education, diet, or environmental issues play a role in the development of the disease.

Scientists have also found evidence that some of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and low levels of vitamin folate) may also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the National Institute on Aging, in addition to memory problems, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may experience one or more of the following signs:

  • Get lost frequently.
  • Have trouble handling money and paying bills.
  • Repeating questions.
  • Taking longer to complete activities of daily living.
  • Displaying poor judgment, losing things or misplacing them in odd places.
  • Displaying mood and personality changes.

If you or someone you know has several or even most of the symptoms or signs listed here, it does not mean that you or they have Alzheimer’s disease. But it is important to consult a healthcare provider when you or someone you know has concerns about memory loss, thinking skills or behavioral changes. Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, active medical management can improve the quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

Treatment focuses on several different aspects, including helping people maintain mental function, managing behavioral symptoms and slowing or delaying the symptoms of the disease. Studies have shown that individuals that are progressing in Alzheimer’s and related dementia benefit from:

  • Structured, ongoing activities.
  • Individual lifestyle programming.
  • Nutritious meals.
  • Socialization.

Memory programs like those offered at Arden Courts provide a unique approach to caregiving that has been created to help people with Alzheimer’s disease and related memory impairments while receiving the professional assistance that they need.

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