Sep 7, 2018 by Cindy Adkins
Welcome back. We are happy to see that you are here for part two of our four-part Alzheimer’s Awareness Month series. This week, we will be looking at how Alzheimer’s disease progresses and how you can care for your loved one who may have been diagnosed with the disease.
In case you missed the first week:
Alzheimer’s disease is not a disease that develops rapidly. In fact, it is slow to develop and you nor your loved one may recognize the symptoms at first. Alzheimer’s does have symptoms that are associated with it and over time, the symptoms will get worse and progress as the disease does as well.
There are three main stages of Alzheimer’s care, which include the early, middle, and late stages. The disease does progress at a different rate for everyone and the different stages can help provide you and your loved one’s caregiver a better idea of where they may stand within the disease itself.
Those individuals who are entering the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s disease will find that they have a difficult time retaining new information and they may mix up their words and thoughts. In addition, many of these individuals will find it progressively more difficult to organize and plan. During the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease, seniors can live on their own.
You will find that your loved one is able to still complete many of their daily tasks and they do not need a lot of care just yet, but, you should start to plan for long-term care. You will want to make sure you get all your loved one’s finances in order, get their legal affairs straightened out, and talk about what the future holds as far as care and options. Caregivers also want you to know this is a great time to create a routine to provide some familiarity for your loved one.
The middle stage of Alzheimer’s is the longest stage and you will find that your loved one experiences a lot more difficulties in their life. Daily tasks that were once easy are much more difficult now and your loved may not be able to express their emotions well and they may lose track of both place and time. Now is often a good time to setup in-home care.
During this stage, it will take a lot of time, patience, and expertise. You will find that you may need to help your loved one with daily tasks such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, bathing, and more. You will want to take extra steps to make sure your loved one’s home is safe for them to live in too and cover all ground to ensure they do not wander. During this stage, your loved one may find that they cannot communicate efficiently with you, so you must learn to recognize their non-verbal cues.
Severe changes will occur in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and you will find that your loved one’s physical health, thought processes, and mood are affected. During this stage, the brain begins to deteriorate, and it is possible that your loved one will lose complete awareness of their environment and they may not be able to express their needs to you anymore. Around the clock care from a caregiver is generally required.
Care is provided around the clock to your loved one and your loved one will need help with their daily living needs. It is important to make sure your senior is comfortable and well-cared for during this stage. You do want to keep your eye out for any signs of pain, discomfort, or illness and address it immediately.
It is important for you to care for yourself during this time as well and know that there is help available to allow you the break you need too. You can seek out respite care services to allow you the opportunity to rest, shower, grab a bite to eat, and more.
Comfort Keepers of Olympia WA is proud to be a big part of the Walk To End Alzheimer’s, which is held by the Alzheimer’s Association in over 600 communities throughout the US. Visit our site to learn more, to find a walk near you, or to donate to the cause.
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2018
Place: University of Puget Sound | 1500 North Warner St. Tacoma, WA 98416
Time: Registration at 11am | Ceremony at 12pm | Walk at 12:30pm
We also invite you to come back next week to learn how Alzheimer’s affects the brain.