If you or your significant other has just received news that a relative has Alzheimer’s disease, the unanswered questions swirling around your head are probably multiplying by the minute.
Some of these questions might include: How can I treat Alzheimer’s at home? How do I get help for my loved one with Alzheimer’s? What is the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s? How fast does Alzheimer’s memory loss happen? You might even be asking, ‘What exactly is Alzheimer’s?’
Let’s start by answering the last question so you understand what the disease is, how it is diagnosed, what the symptoms are, and whether it can be cured so you know what exactly your relative (and you as well) are up against.
What Exactly is Alzheimer’s? How is it Diagnosed? Can it Be Cured?
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes memory loss, and adversely changes thinking and behavior. Symptoms start developing slowly and then snowball as time passes until the person who has it is nearly helpless. Alzheimer’s memory loss is just one of the possible symptoms those suffering from this disease live with every day. Others include hardship learning new information as Alzheimer’s affects the area of the brain responsible for this, difficulty following conversations, moodiness, and social reclusion.
One particularly difficult symptom to deal with is unfounded accusations of theft against family, friends and caretakers. This is a side-effect of memory loss; it can happen when the Alzheimer’s patient puts things in odd places and then forgets where they put them. Forgetting where they are and how they got there is also a common sign.
There is no one test that determines the presence of Alzheimer’s. Rather, a group of doctors—neurologists, psychologists and geriatricians—will evaluate the signs and symptoms and do several tests including mental status tests, neuropsychological tests and CAT scans. They might also interview family and friends to find out if they’ve noticed unusual behaviors.
How Long Do People Live After Being Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s?
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s or a way to stop its progression. People generally live 4-8 years after the diagnosis, though some live much longer. The results from pharmacological treatments have been discouraging so far. However, non-medicinal treatments have shown promise in their ability to treat the symptoms. Keeping the brain sharp with mental activities, socializing with friends and family, and physical exercise are just a few ways to help combat the memory loss and other symptoms common to Alzheimer’s patients.
Can I Get Alzheimer’s Help for My Loved One at Home?
Yes, you certainly can. Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient in their own home presents several positives. Being in familiar surroundings, for example, serves as a sense of relief and is less traumatic for the patient. Because Alzheimer’s patients suffer from memory loss, a new surrounding can sometimes be difficult for them to understand. Not all types of home care are the same, but receiving excellent Alzheimer’s help at home is definitely possible. No matter which Alzheimer’s help option you and your family decide is the best, they all have benefits for your parent, grandparent or loved one.
• Companion services—usually a nurse or caregiver to assist with supervising, recreation and socializing.
• Personal care services—this person is a bit more specialized as they help with bathing, dressing, trips to the bathroom, eating, exercising and laundry, among others.
• Homemaker services—assistance with groceries, cooking and cleaning.
• Skilled services—a licensed health professional who helps with the administration of medicine, injections, physical therapy or other specialized needs. It’s common that these services are called for by the patient’s physician.
To find the right type of care, you can discuss your options with the doctor overseeing your relative; they are great resources for recommendations. You could also call your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter as they often know which establishments have the best service. Medicare’s online tool also lets you find and compare certified home health agencies.
When speaking with potential in-house caregivers, be sure to request a resume and ask questions such as: Are you trained in CPR? Do you have experience caring for someone with Alzheimer’s? Are you bonded? These questions will give you a better idea of whether the care provider would be a good fit.
Costs of Alzheimer’s help will vary depending on the expertise of the provider and the services they will perform. Other factors affecting the price are whether Medicare or private insurance will help cover these expenses. Some states provide aid to seniors with limited resources in the form of ‘participant-directed services.’
How Do I Get Help for Alzheimer’s?
Several resources exist to support you and your family as you all deal with this new chapter. Sometimes, knowing and understanding what’s happening and why it’s happening can provide peace of mind and a sense of relief. There are many tools that assist to that end. There’s plenty of excellent Alzheimer’s help to give you a sense of what to expect.
For example, you can call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 help line any time for free and confidential information, advice and support. Colorado has educational programs and support groups so you can meet other people in your same situation to share frustrations, triumphs, and support. There is also a wealth of resources online with helpful advice for family and caretakers. There are also interactive tools for those suffering from Alzheimer’s to give them a sense of control over their care.
For early-onset Alzheimer’s patients you can check the listings in Denver for social engagement nights. These events promote getting out, getting active and connecting with other people with Alzheimer’s and their families. This affords another opportunity to meet other people living with the beginning stages of the disease and trade tips and suggestions between families. Also, just knowing that you and your family are not alone in this fight is a comfort in and of itself.
Excellent Alzheimer’s Help is Only a Phone Call Away
If during a meeting your family decides that it’s best for your loved one to stay in an assisted living facility, or if you’ve tried having your relative stay at home only to find that it’s too much, the experts at Assured Assisted Living are here for you. At Assured, we understand the fears you, your family and the one you intend on letting us care for might be having. We go the extra mile to ensure you and your loved one are as comfortable as can be. In fact, compare us to other assisted living companies or nursing homes and you will see that Assured is the best place for your loved one to be.
At Assured Assisted Living you have:
• 1:4 staff to resident ratio
• Continuity of staff
• Familiar, 1 level home
• Family style dining
• Individualized activities
• Quiet, stable environment
• Reduction in anxiety/behaviors
• Personal, intimate home feeling
• Individualized care needs
By contrast, other larger establishments tend to have:
• 1:10 staff to resident ratio
• Frequent staff shift changes
• Multiple levels of the facility
• Large dining room
• Large group activities
• Noisy/busy environment
• Anxiety/behavior outbursts
• Institutional feeling
• General institutional care
For more information about Assured Assisted Living, please schedule a tour or call (303) 814-2688 today. One of our care managers will be more than happy to provide you with additional details about our community and the many benefits we offer to those living near Denver, Colorado.