Receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis leaves families feeling a range of emotions, and above all, leaves them curious about what comes next. While many families know the common symptoms associated with this type of memory loss such as increased forgetfulness and confusion, there are other symptoms that family members be unaware of.
To help ensure that the highest level of quality care is provided to your aging parent or loved one after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, here are eight things you might not (but need to) know about the degenerative disease.
- As the disease progresses, seniors are unable to perform physical tasks as muscle strength decreases. In later stages, memory loss is accompanied by changes in abilities and it can become difficult for the senior to hold his or her head up, swallow, or maintain bladder or bowel control.
- Another symptom commonly overlooked is the change in one’s smell and tastes. The disease changes the neuroreceptor cells in the nose which in turn alters one’s taste buds. Meal preparation then becomes important to ensure that the senior receives the proper amounts of vitamins and nutrients to remain healthy.
- Vitamin E may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that patients with mild to moderate symptoms can benefit from large daily doses of the vitamin which can be found in avocados, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach and olive oil.
- There typically is a change in sleep patterns causing nighttime restlessness and daytime drowsiness. When changes in sleep patterns are identified, it is important for family members to watch out for sundowning, a condition where seniors experience extreme anxiety and agitation as the sun sets. During this time, family members will need to provide careful monitoring to prevent wandering and may want to enlist in the help of a 24 hour caregiver in Centennial to maximize safety at home.
- Some research indicates that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s because the herbal drug helps maintain brain health. It contains THC that can treat the symptoms and progression of the disease.
- Alzheimer’s disease can put a senior’s health at greater risk if he or she develops other medical conditions including hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.
- Family caregivers of aging loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease have higher likelihoods of depression, personal issues, financial problems, emotional stress and physical strain. This makes it of the utmost importance to seek professional assistance or help from a reliable home care agency in southeast suburban Denver.
- Life expectancy varies from person to person so it’s hard to predict how long a senior will live with the disease. Typically, those with Alzheimer’s tend to live for about three or four years, although some patients have been known to live 10 years or more with the right support systems in place.
If your aging loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you’re unsure of how to move forward with their care plan, contact Home Care Assistance. We specialize in Alzheimer’s care in southeast suburban metro Denver, CO and can provide your aging loved one with the hourly or around the clock care and support they need to continue living in the comfort of home. For more information about our tailored Alzheimer’s care plans, call 303-957-3100 and speak with a Care Manager today.