Boston Home care June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. And with 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s (According to the Alzheimer’s Association) and an enormous generation of Baby Boomers reaching their silver years, understanding this disease is more important than ever. Join us to help The Alzheimer’s Association #ENDALZ by learning, spreading awareness, and inspiring others to take action.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Oftentimes, “Alzheimer’s” and “Dementia” are used interchangeably, but that’s not accurate. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a condition where memory impairments affect everyday life. Alzheimer’s, though it is the leading cause of dementia and accounts for 2/3 of cases, is a unique disease. This degenerative brain disease is caused by cell death in the brain. Though researchers aren’t’ entirely sure what causes this, we do know it results in tissue damage, brain shrinkage, and thus an overall decline in almost all functions. The most significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age.
When You Start to Notice Changes
Recognizing memory loss Boston Home care early on is key to improving outcomes in dementia and Alzheimer’s treatment. Though there is no cure, identifying it early, can help slow the progression of the disease and keep loved ones comfortable. Here are a few things to look out for:
Confusion with time or place New troubles with spoken or written words Mood or personality changes Decreased problem-solving Difficulty understanding visuals or spatial relationships.
If you recognize any of these symptoms, don’t wait. Schedule a conversation with your doctor as soon as possible to see if they recommend testing. As we age, it’s recommended to undergo screening for memory loss at least once a year and it is usually covered as part of a yearly wellness exam. Testing for Alzheimer’s and/or dementia can include an interview with the patient as well as an individual close with them, brain imaging, and lab tests (Mayo Clinic).
Understanding the Scale and Impact
The facts are, according to the Alzheimer’s Association Boston Home care comprehensive report, 1 in 3 seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia. That’s more than prostate and breast cancer combined. And while other conditions like heart disease have decreased the number of deaths they cause, the number of deaths caused by Alzheimer’s has more than doubled since 2019.
The Role of Caretakers
Once Alzheimer’s has been diagnosed, it’s important to start planning for care and treatment. Per the same Alzheimer’s Association report, “More than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.” That means family members, neighbors, good Samaritans who may not have the training or capacity to provide care are doing so.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or any other kind of dementia is difficult. Not only is it heartbreaking to watch a disease erode away someone dear to you, as changes in personality and functioning can be shocking and hard to process, but the physical care can be a full-time job. Since moving to senior living isn’t always feasible and most older adults wish to age in place, in-home Alzheimer’s support is a great solution to boost memory and increase medication compliance. Learn more about in-home Alzheimer’s care and how services provided by Foundational Home Care can help your family during this difficult time.