Alzheimer’s is one of the commonest causes of dementia. Dementia is the all-encompassing term for memory loss much like heart disease is a term for all the diseases related to the heart. Dementia and Alzheimer’s affect cognition seriously enough that it starts to interfere with the everyday quality of life. Alzheimer’s accounts for about 60-80% of all dementia cases.
Although people above 65 years of age are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s; around 200,000 Americans below 65 years of age are developing younger-onset Alzheimer’s. You have to know that Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. You should also know that it’s a progressive disease that gets worse with time.
Memory loss is only mild in the early years. But with time, the person can lose the ability to carry out even normal conversations. Being the 6th leading cause of death in the US, on average the person lives for about 4-8 years post-diagnosis. An occasional person can live for as long as 20 years based on the level of care they receive.
There’s no current cure for Dementia or Alzheimer’s. At best you can manage the symptoms. The present suite of treatments can only slow down the worsening of symptoms so that the person can enjoy a better quality of life.
Symptoms of Dementia
Dementia has a range of varying symptoms. The typical ones are:
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulty remembering things like a wallet or a purse
- Trouble paying and remembering bills
- Difficulty preparing for or planning meals
- Difficulty remembering appointments
Since it’s a progressive disease, the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s start out small and get worse with time. When that happens, you should contemplate moving into one of the senior assisted living homes and facilities.
Living at home when you have dementia
During the early stages of dementia, it’s relatively easy to live at home and enjoy the same quality of life as before. However, once you receive an official diagnosis, you should seek medical advice and start planning for the upcoming years. Seek local support services as they can be of immense help.
Unless you have 24/7 help available at home, you should start to weigh your options as the person will be needing extra help during the following years. You will need help with daily activities like shopping, household work, and even getting dressed and having meals.
Finding a Senior Living Facility
It may seem tempting to keep the elderly at home to try to avoid the cost of a senior living facility. However, we find that in the end, Alzheimer’s care facilities for seniors are a much better option in every way. Financially also, they turn out to be better than having full-time help at home.
These facilities are equipped to handle the special needs of Alzheimer’s patients. Patients get help with their everyday tasks as well as medical assistance day and night. The socially conducive atmosphere also gives the elderly a sense of connection and belonging.
It’s best to work with your doctor as they often give the best advice in terms of which senior living facility to choose from. Today with the advent of internet technology, it’s easier than ever to locate a facility near you. Based on reviews, you can see if the facility is the right match for your loved one. Once you’ve found the right match, you may have to help your loved one move to the assisted living facility.
Various Options for Help During Pandemic
It can be particularly challenging to find the right kind of help during the pandemic. However, help is available; thanks to advances in technology. With the help of the following assistive technologies, you can seek a customized kind of help and an online community to help through times of distress as the person battles with the disease.
Telecare systems are ideal for the pandemic situation as they can help the individual who chooses to stay at home. They are:
Portable/fixed position alarm – When activated, they make a high-pitched sound as an alert system so that help can arrive.
Movement sensors – These can detect motion and alert the person in charge in case the elderly falls out of bed and during fire/smoke alarms.
Telecare system – This system sends a signal to the monitoring center or carer by phone in case of emergency.
Pill dispensers – These are designed to dispense medication at the right intervals.
You can work with a local council to get the right kind of system installed in your home.
Smartphones and Tablets
Many elderly find that a tablet or a smartphone can help them deal with certain aspects of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. There are dedicated apps that can help people like the notes function, alarm clock, and the reminder function.
On top of that, social media platforms and help them connect with other people going through similar challenges. They can find online communities and connect with others to share their experience.
Many apps are also designed to help people with dementia such as special kinds of games, reminiscence aids, etc. Other than that, you also get a voice-controlled virtual assistant to make your life as independent as possible. Today, with voice-activated Google search, patients can get answers to the queries related to the train schedule, weather, and other queries they may have.
Help is always available for patients struggling with all kinds of issues. When it’s something as serious as Alzheimer’s you need to be vigilant and stay on your toes. Seeking the right help at the right time can make all the difference in caring for the person.
Written by Holly Klamer
Holly is a seasoned writer who loves to create content related to aging issues and everything to do with senior living. She is a frequent contributor to many top online publications including Assisted Living Near Me, where she creates content that is specific to assisted living for older adults, as well as SeniorLivingFacilities.net, where she writes about common issues affecting senior citizens and provides senior living advice.