By Roberto Rodriquez
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting about 5.3 million Americans of all ages in the year 2010. Comprising this number is 5.1 million people aged 65 and above and 200,000 individuals under the age of 65 and who are experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. This condition, however, goes beyond the numbers. Somewhere along those digits lies someone in need of care and attention, and that someone could be your grandfather, your favorite uncle, your father, or your spouse.
Early symptoms of the disease can easily be confused with normal 'age-related' concerns, including forgetfulness and inability to acquire new memories. Later on, as the disease advances, other symptoms such as confusion, mood swings, aggression, irritability, language breakdown, and overall withdrawal of the patient can be observed. The sufferer also loses control over his bodily functions, which would eventually lead to his or her death.
As of now, doctors are still uncertain as to the true cause of Alzheimer's disease and its progression. Although there are treatments that offer temporary symptomatic relief, there are no treatments to inhibit or halt the progression of the disease. The best thing that can be done for a person who has Alzheimer's is to make his/her remaining years as comfortable as possible.
But this is no easy task. There are a lot of pressures involved in taking care of a senior afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, including but not limited to social, emotional, psychological, physical, and economical facets of the caregiver's life. Oftentimes, seniors with AD are placed in retirement homes or similar facilities in which trained professionals are able to provide all-around care. There are also some instances where the patients are kept at home to the care of loved ones.
In those instances when professional help is out of the question, a loving family member or relative might read up on Senior Alzheimer's Care tips:
- Be patient, understanding, sensitive, positive, and cheerful.
- Develop routines to reassure your patient - a familiar environment or daily activity will ease him
- Keep your patient away from harm, similar to how you would "child-proof" your home.
- Take comfort that you are not alone, and that you shouldn't blame yourself once the burden has become too heavy. There are always retirement facilities that will be more than willing to lift your load.
- Seek encouragement from fellow caregivers.
If a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, read more on Senior Alzheimer's Care to prepare yourself for the trying journey that lies ahead.
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