“Caring for persons with Alzheimer’s Disease”
Among the older members of our population it is said that across the world there are more than 20 million persons living with irreversible memory loss. The bad news is that this number is expected to triple in another 25 years. This is not at all surprising as persons are living longer with age related diseases.
Irreversible dementia affects an individual’s ability to do daily functions due to a change in the brain function. The most striking loss is attributed to memory loss. The common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease they are the deposits of plaques on the brain which results in gradual death of brain tissue. Vascular dementia is caused by multiple minor strokes which are often not even noticed by close family members and caregivers.
Recognizing Age-related Memory Loss
Age-related memory loss is commonly seen in persons over the age of 50 years. Family member and caregivers should note whether the senior is exhibiting behaviors that “raises a red flag” to age-related memory loss. Some common clues are the following:
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive deterioration with behavior, memory and thinking. It is the most common form of dementia seen in individuals typically over the age of 65 years old. Here are few of the specific characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease:
Tips to prevent or delay dementia
Whether the individual is at home with family or placed in a nursing home it is important to note that structured daily routine helps tremendously with the behavior and cognitive skills of persons with age-related memory loss. They constantly require brain stimulation, physical exercise and social interactions to decrease the risk of age related memory loss or the worsening of the condition.
The drug Aricept is FDA approved and has been shown to slow down the progression of dementia in the early phase. There are a few more on the market which are giving promising results.
Group therapy for patients and special support group meetings for family and caregivers are very helpful.