Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of Dementia, which causes a progressive and irreversible deterioration of several cognitive functions. This deterioration ends up generating innumerable consequences that make it difficult to carry out even the most basic daily activities.
This disease is characterized by “neuronal death” in certain parts of the brain, with some causes still to be determined, and there are two types:
- Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease – the most common form – which can affect adults of any age, although it is more common to occur after the age of 65, with or without a family history of the disease.
- Familial Alzheimer’s Disease – less common form – where the transmission of the disease occurs from one generation to another, and if one parent has a mutation in a gene, the child will have a 50% chance of inheriting it, and developing the disease between the ages of 40 and 60.
In the early stages, the signs of Alzheimer’s disease are generally very mild, tending to evolve into a frequent picture of memory lapses and difficulty in articulating daily speech coherently. These are characteristic symptoms:
- Persistent or frequent partial memory impairment or loss, especially of more recent events, familiar people and places;
- Difficulty planning/problem solving, performing everyday tasks, maintaining concentration, speaking or writing;
- Loss of enthusiasm for activities once enjoyed;
- Disorientation and loss of sense of time;
- Diminished judgment and loss of perception of basic everyday situations;
- Vague speech and lack of ability to understand instructions and questions;
- Emotional unpredictability – confusion, distrust, depression, anxiety, fear;
- Withdrawal from social life in general.
According to the affected brain areas, the evolution of the disease occurs at a different pace, so that the person’s own abilities may vary according to phases, days or even throughout the day. Stress situations and/or other health problems may potentiate the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, which is considered degenerative and, nowadays, irreversible.
There are many people who do not understand the real situation and symptomatology associated with Alzheimer’s disease, so they can hardly provide the best help.
So, in order to be able to support an elderly relative suffering, or suspected of suffering, from this disease, it is extremely important to be alert to any and all characteristic signs of the disease. It is also important to seek informational support in order to understand how it works, how it affects your family member, and what you can do to support them.
The vast majority of Senior Residences have professionals who provide services such as psychological support for the caregiver and the patient, Alzheimer’s rehabilitation, among others. They promote the management of this disease in an appropriate way, providing an improvement in quality of life and well-being for all involved.
Do you need Alzheimer’s Disease Support?
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