Assume that people with Alzheimer’s may understand and hear what you say even if they are confused. It’s not just the person that has Alzheimer’s that has all the health problems. The Daily review article noted that “the hardship for caregivers “The Alzheimer’s patient can’t change the course of his disease, but the caregivers must learn to take care of themselves”. So here are some practical tips for the Alzheimer’s caregiver.
Coping with a loved one with Alzheimer’s
We all have problems finding the right words now and then, but those with Alzheimer’s might forget simple words or substitute inappropriate ones and make the sentence incomprehensible. Problems with Abstract Thinking- We might have problems balancing a checkbook, but those with Alzheimer’s might not even know what the numbers represent and also forget how to add and subtract. Changes in Mood or Behavior- Those with Alzheimer’s can exhibit rapid mood swings for no apparent reason. Changes in Personality-Those with Alzheimer’s can change drastically, becoming extremely confused, suspicious, fearful. Simply getting old and forgetting where you put the keys is not a sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s. They need to get out their misplaced feelings and their guilt’s Alzheimer’s patients lose their inhibitions and say the most terrible things to caregivers. Taking care of a love one with Alzheimer’s requires a lot of patience and love and sometimes we need to be inspired from people going through what we are going through.
In the middle or late stages of Alzheimer’s, they may have forgotten what water is and the reason for the bath itself and may become very afraid by the splashing, noise, etc and become overwhelmed and confused.
Instead, restructure the room that the Alzheimer’s patient spends most of their time in to minimize unnecessary environmental stimuli These particular rooms should not be a place where a phone rings and doorbells are heard loudly and the television is played all at the same time Such excess simulation may precipitate an anxious or agitated episode.
Did You Know!
People who go to school longer have less risk to Alzheimer’s This “increased cultural reserve” simply forestalls the disease to a later age-perhaps by five years- at which point you may simply be dead. Alzheimer’s is the death of the mind before the death of the body half of all nursing home residents suffer from Alzheimer’s.
After the death of an Alzheimer’s person the brain was examined many abnormal clumps now called amyloidal plaques and tangled bundles of fibers now called neurofibrillary tangles were found. Plaques and tangles in the brain are two of the main features of AD. The third is the loss of connections between nerve cells neurons in the brain. Tangles begin to develop deep in the brain, in an area called the entorhinal cortex, and plaques form in other areas. Then, they lose their ability to function and communicate with each other, and eventually they die.
This damaging process spreads to a nearby structure, called the hippocampus, which is essential in forming memories. As the death of neurons increases, affected brain regions begin to shrink. By the final stage of AD, damage is widespread and brain tissue has shrunk significantly. Memory problems are one of the first signs of AD. Some people with memory problems have a condition called amnestic mild cognitive impairment MCI. People with this condition have more memory problems than normal for people their age, but their symptoms are not as severe as those with AD. More people with MCI, compared with those without MCI, go on to develop AD. Other changes may also signal the very early stages of AD. For example, recent research has found links between some movement difficulties and MCI. Researchers also have seen links between some problems with the sense of smell and cognitive problems. Brain imaging and biomarker studies of people with MCI and those with a family history of AD are beginning to detect early changes in the brain like those seen in AD. These findings will need to be confirmed by other studies but appear promising.
Such findings offer hope that some day, we may have tools that could help detect AD early, track the course of the disease, and monitor response to treatments. One of the great mysteries of AD is why it largely strikes older adults. Research on how the brain changes normally with age is shedding light on this question. For example, scientists are learning how age-related changes in the brain may harm neurons and contribute to AD damage. These age-related changes include inflammation and the production of unstable molecules called free radicals. These people have a mutation, or permanent change, in one of three genes that they inherited from a parent. Many studies have linked a gene called APOE to late-onset AD. Scientists think that other risk-factor genes exist as well
What Causes Alzheimer’s?
Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s, but it is clear that it develops because of a complex series of events that take place in the brain over a long period of time. It is likely that the causes include genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Because people differ in their genetic make-up and lifestyle, the importance of these factors for preventing or delaying AD differs from person to person.