More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, making it the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes a person’s intellectual abilities to deteriorate. Though there is no cure yet, there is support and treatment available for those with Alzheimer’s and their families.
Signs of Alzheimer’s
Difficulty with communication
Erratic changes in temperament
Inability to recognize familiar people, places or things
Frequently misplacing things
Stages of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s progresses in seven granular phases, which can be broken into three overarching categories: mild, moderate and severe. Though different patients make progress through each phase at different paces, most will follow this trajectory.
The initial phase of Alzheimer’s begins with no impairment, but ends with the patient forgetting familiar words, misplacing objects and having difficulty performing simple tasks.
Those with moderate Alzheimer’s begin to show more noticeable symptoms of the disease, such as forgetting recent events and experiencing frequent confusion about where they are, what time it is and who they are with. They are likely to have more mood swings and become more withdrawn as well.
In the final stage of Alzheimer’s, memory and cognitive function have declined to the point the patient will forget personal details, such as their name. They also have little awareness about their immediate surrounds, and need help with everyday functions like going to the restroom and eating.
Family history of Alzheimer’s
The presence of certain genes
How to Get Help
If you notice any of the above symptoms of Alzheimer’s in a loved one, or experience them yourself, seek treatment from a specialist immediately. Alzheimer’s is incurable, but early treatment can substantially improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family. Medication can be prescribed to alleviate other issues that Alzheimer’s sufferers may experience, such as depression and difficulty sleeping. A nutritious diet and regular exercise also play an important role in helping a person with Alzheimer’s live a more comfortable life. As the disease progresses, many patients with Alzheimer’s may move to a long-term care facility equipped to provide those with various forms of dementia the constant care they need. The Ginny and Bob Shell Alzheimer’s Center at Parkway Village, a Baptist Health community, is a certified Alzheimer’s Special Care Facility devoted to those living with the disease. Through exceptional care and social interaction for patients and support groups for families, the center enhances the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones.
Through a wide range of services and resources, Baptist Health improves the lives of those with Alzheimer’s, and supports their family members as they help care for their affected loved one. If you think you or one of your loved ones is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, request an appointment with one of our specialists. If you are currently caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and would like to join an Alzheimer’s support group call 501-202-6105.