There are currently more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. Research projects that this number will rise to nearly 13 million by the year 2050. Every June, the Alzheimer’s Association raises awareness of the disease during Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is a common type of dementia that causes memory, thinking, and behavior difficulties. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. It can become severe enough to interfere with daily activities.
The most common cause of the disease is increasing age, but other factors like genetics, lifestyle, and environment can also play a part. While aging is the most common cause, it is not a normal part of aging. One of the earliest symptoms of the disease is difficulty remembering newly learned information because the changes typically begin in the brain region that affects learning.
In the beginning of the onset of the disease, Alzheimer’s will hinder everyday tasks such as driving or cooking. As the disease progresses, those affected may lose things, repeat questions, leave items in odd places or find simple tasks confusing. In most severe cases, Alzheimer’s can cause disorientation, mood changes, confusion about time and place, suspicion of friends and family, memory loss, anger, violence, or difficulty speaking and walking.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but some treatments can temporarily slow the severity of the symptoms. Medications can address mental function, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow or delay other symptoms. While treatments are not permanent, they can help improve the quality of life for patients and their caregivers.
Controlling the surrounding environment can also help those with Alzheimer’s feel more comfortable. Keeping a daily routine can help to avoid confusion because the patients knows what to expect. While it may be difficult for family or caregivers, it is essential to remain patient and reassure them that they are safe. Part of that patience includes remaining calm when they are frustrated or confused and not arguing or raising your voice.
Researchers are constantly working to uncover as many aspects of Alzheimer’s and other dementias as possible. Individuals with any form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, caregivers, and healthy participants are always needed to participate in studies. These studies aim to help find better treatments, preventative measures, and ultimately a cure.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a service that can connect you, or someone you know, to a trial or study.
The National Institute on Aging also provides a way to search for clinical studies related to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute has a program called the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. The registry can help connect people to research studies taking place in their communities.
If you or someone you know has Alzheimer’s, or any type of dementia, and is in need of home care assistance by professional caregivers, call your local Assisting Hands office. You can find a location near you by visiting https://www.assistinghands.com/location-list/