Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people worldwide, but it can be difficult to know what to do. It is important to remember that Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disorder which gradually destroys memory and thinking skills. This article provides information about the disease, symptoms, treatment options and how you can talk with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s.
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease may experience memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks and problems communicating. These symptoms will become more pronounced as the illness progresses. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s typically appear after age 60; however, those under 65 can also develop this condition which is referred to as younger-onset dementia or early-onset Alzheimer’s.
As the disease progresses, patients will experience changes in behavior and personality. They may become confused about time or place, have mood swings or withdraw from social situations. Loss of bodily functions such as bladder control is also common with Alzheimer’s. The progression of this illness can vary by individual; for some it only takes a few years to reach the advanced stages of the disease while for others, it may take many years.
There are medications to help with some early symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s including memory loss and confusion. Two types of drugs that have been approved by the FDA are Aricept (donepezil) and Namenda (memantine). These medications can slow further decline in thinking abilities, but they do not halt the progression of Alzheimer’s.
As with most diseases, it is best to start treatment early. There are no known ways to prevent this disease; however, you can help ease some symptoms through physical exercise and social interaction. You should also talk openly about your feelings regarding the illness which may reduce anxiety for both you and your loved one.
If you are the primary caregiver of a person with Alzheimer’s, it is important to take care of yourself as well. You should get plenty of sleep and eat healthy meals to avoid becoming exhausted or depressed from this difficult task. Remember that you cannot control everything; but if there are certain things which need attention, make sure to get it done.
This disease is very hard on both the patient and their families; however, there are many things that you can do to ease some of your loved one’s symptoms while also coping with this condition yourself. It may be difficult at first but talking openly about the illness and working together will help lead to a successful treatment plan.
For information on treatment and support for someone in your family with Alzheimer’s. Reach out to us at IMIC Inc. and let us help you.