Jun 1, 2017 by Kristina Butler
Nearly 6 million American seniors have dementia and the majority of them suffer from Alzheimer's disease. While there is not currently a cure for Alzheimer's, advances are being made. One discovery that has helped doctors and caregivers provide the most effective Alzheimer's home care is that the disease follows a standard progression.
Since Alzheimer's disease progresses by eroding sections of the brain, no two seniors experience the disease in the same way. The exact symptoms depend upon the area of the brain that is impacted, the order in which the areas of the brain are impacted, and a senior's overall health prior to contracting the disease. Regardless of the detailed order of physical, mental, and emotional loss, however, all seniors who suffer from Alzheimer's disease go through three primary stages.
Early Stage. In the early stage of Alzheimer's disease, a senior may not even know they have dementia, although they may suspect that something is wrong. Often the disease starts with memory lapses and a difficulty remembering names or places. Household objects such as keys or a remote control may be misplaced. Since there may be numerous reasons for these occurrences, many seniors simply ignore them or view them as part of getting older. Seniors who do get their symptoms checked out and are diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's may want to take advantage of Alzheimer's home care. While the disease may not impact much of daily life, seniors can take advantage of the help planning for the future with experts who know what to expect in the months and years to come. Further, caregivers can often assist with many daily living tasks so seniors can maximize the best of their remaining years with their loved ones.
Middle Stage. In mid-stage Alzheimer's, the memory lapses and cognitive struggles multiply. The first part of the middle stage is the most common time Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed. During this stage, the disease may start to attack long-term memory in addition to short-term memory. Thus, by the end of the middle stage, seniors may have a more difficult time interacting with their environment. This is the stage where seniors start to get lost in familiar places, forget where and even who they are, and may start to lose control of their body functions, such as speaking and fine motor skills. At this stage, Alzheimer's home care becomes necessary to help with many aspects of daily care. Caregivers are usually needed during social outings and for transportation support.
Late Stage. By the end of late-stage Alzheimer's, a senior will require 24-hour Alzheimer's home care support. During this stage, a senior will lose their understanding of time and space. They may have frequent hallucinations, suffer from paranoia, and have phantom pain. Gross motor skills are lost so a senior will require support for all of their daily functions, including eating, toileting, bathing, and the like.
Regardless of the stage of Alzheimer's disease, every senior deserves dignity, compassion, and respect. They also deserve to live out their days with as much freedom and independence as they can while still remaining safe. If your senior loved one suffers from Alzheimer's disease and requires in-home Alzheimer's home care and support, find out how Comfort Keepers can maximize their quality of life by contacting a senior care coordinator today.