Friday, June 27, 2014
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
By: Janice Adams, LPN, Executive Director of Choice Home Care
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of Dementia, is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the brain caused by the death or permanent dysfunction of brain cells (neurons). The disease robs individuals of memory and, eventually, overall mental and physical function.
The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are unknown, and there are no specific treatments that prevent the death of brain cells or cure the disease. Several medications are available that may help slow the progression of symptoms.
Those who are experiencing warning signs of dementia, whose family and friends have noticed changes in their behavior, or those who are at risk due to a family history of Alzheimer’s disease should have a memory screening. It is normal to become more forgetful as you age. The difference between “normal” and dementia or Alzheimer’s is not just that a person is forgetting things, but also the fact that their behavior may have changed.
There are no medical tests for Alzheimer’s but there are some warning signs. Memory loss of recent events, family member’s names, placement of objects, confusion about time or place, or easily getting lost driving to a familiar place. Also, does the person struggle to complete basic daily living activities like bathing, grooming and dressing? If you suspect Alzheimer’s, take the person to someone who is qualified to perform a mental exam. The exam only takes a short amount of time to perform and is confidential. Choice Home Care offers these exams free of charge.
There are some things you can do to promote clarity in the midst of a very confusing time for your loved one. You can put financial affairs in order, and seek power of attorney.