You know what Alzheimer’s is and how it affects your parent, but do you really understand how it affects brain function? Take a closer look at the effects Alzheimer’s has on the brain.
Understanding the Basics of the Brain
The brain weighs a few pounds is made of three parts: the brain stem, the cerebrum, and the cerebellum. All areas of this brain are kept healthy through a network of veins, capillaries, and arteries that make sure oxygen is reaching all of the cells that form these three parts of the brain.
Start with the brain stem. It is the bridge between the brain and the spinal cord. Its function is to control basic functions like breathing, blood pressure, digestion, and the beating of the heart.
The cerebrum takes up the bulk of your brain mass and sits above the cerebellum and brain stem. It’s the part of the brain used for problem-solving, memories, interpretation of the senses, emotions, thinking skills, and body movements.
Finally, there’s the cerebellum that is in the back of the brain behind the brain stem. Its key goals are to control your balance and coordination.
Enter the Neurons and Synapses
The brain has billions of nerve cells known as neurons. Neurons pass signals from one to the other that help complete all of the tasks the brain must do. With Alzheimer’s, the synapses that transfer signals between cells stop working correctly. Neurons start dying off. As the brain cells die, the task the specific area of the brain handled becomes difficult or impossible to accomplish.
The Stages of Alzheimer’s
As the brain cells die, the area forming the outer perimeter of the cerebrum shrinks. This outer perimeter, known as the cortex, is directly responsible for short-term memories, planning, and thinking skills. You may find your mom struggling to remember recent events, but she can still tell you things that happened in her childhood.
As Alzheimer’s progresses from mild to moderate. You’ll find your parent having a harder time with things they used to do with ease. You’re in a store and your mom can no longer count money. Your dad tries to tell you something, but he gets stuck trying to find a word and gives up.
More brain cells die, and your parent can’t remember to take medications. Your mom may deal with incontinence. Your dad can’t tell when he’s hungry or thirsty anymore. Eventually, it enters the severe stage where the brain activity leads to your parent forgetting who you are and eventually impact the ability to swallow. By the time you reach this stage, caregivers are necessary on a daily basis.
You may want to provide all the care for your parent, but it’s hard. Staying positive helps your mom and dad. Caregivers provide you with the chance to take a break, refresh mentally and physically, and return with a positive outlook. Call a home care agency to learn more about respites.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Caregivers in South Pasadena, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.