September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and whether you are seeking to help someone with Alzheimer’s or are the individual that cares for a person that’s been diagnosed, we have some helpful tips on ways to lend a hand. In order to help, you first need to understand what the disease is and be aware of the signs.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s a type of brain disease, and although it’s associated with dementia, Alzheimer’s is not part of normal aging and is not exclusive to just those over 60. Another version of this disease is known as Early-onset Alzheimer’s, and it affects approximately 200,000 people under the age of 65.
Common signs of dementia include short-term memory loss, difficulty finding the right words, mood changes, a lack of interest in usual activities, and confusion about familiar things.
Stages of Alzheimer’s
Stage 1: Patients are unaware they have the disease and are fully independent.
Stage 2: Memory begins to slightly fade. Symptoms at this stage are imperceptible to outsiders.
Stage 3: This stage lasts about seven years. Difficulty concentrating or lack of memory becomes evident.
Stage 4: A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is now possible. Patients have problems with memory and daily tasks. They may need help from others.
Stage 5: Patients can no longer live independently because their memory and communication skills deteriorate.
Stage 6: Memory is severely affected. Patents confuse family members and need help with personal hygiene, dressing, and eating.
Stage 7: Patients are no longer able to respond to their environment and become infantile.
How You Can Help
Here are five ways you can help those affected:
- Educate yourself and others about the disease and how it works. This will allow you to be more prepared when dealing with it.
- Be patient with your loved one with Alzheimer’s. They will continually need to be reminded of the same things, but remember, this is an ongoing process and difficult for them as well.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Dealing with this disease can cause a lot of emotional and mental stress. Doctors, nurses, and hospices can offer a helping hand if needed.
- Engage the person with Alzheimer’s in conversation. As the disease progresses, it is important that they still be involved and participate as these things become more limited to them.
- Offer to help with daily tasks, run errands or offer a ride.
Though there is not a cure, there is hope. With the progress in research, the potential for early diagnosis, and the development of better treatments, millions of people with Alzheimer’s may significantly experience a change in life and have better outcomes.
Our facility supports all families in our community and encourages them to watch out for symptoms and get tested early for Alzheimer’s Disease. This disease can be intimidating for many, but with help from organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association, many patients can get the support and treatment they need to live long, fulfilling lives.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, NW Indiana 24/7 ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.