10 Jun National Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month: What You Need to Know
It may surprise you that one of the top leading causes of death in the United States is from Alzheimer’s. In fact, reports state that Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US, killing more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
Today, there are roughly 5.8 million people living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. What may be even more surprising, though, is nearly half of them don’t know they have it. This is why we have National Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month– to spread knowledge and awareness about this disease, and encourage people to get screened.
Statistics in the U.S.
One in three seniors in America dies with Alzheimer’s, or some other form of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that an estimated 5.5 million Americans (or 1 in every 10) over the age of 65 suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Almost two-thirds of those with the disease are female, and experts project that by 2050, the number of people suffering with this disease will almost triple. In addition, about half of seniors 85 and older have Alzheimer’s.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a progressive mental deterioration disease that attacks the memory and other crucial mental functions. Basically, the brain cells degenerate and die. At first, someone with Alzheimer’s may experience some mild symptoms like confusion or easily forgetting something. But as the disease progresses, it can dramatically change someone causing them to forget loved ones and even experience mood/ behavior changes. The rate at which symptoms worsen varies from person to person.
There is no cure for this disease. Nothing can prevent it or even cure it. However, there are medicines that can treat the symptoms of the disease and slow down its progression. It is best to look for the proper signs and symptoms early on. Early and accurate diagnoses can help, and even save you (and your loved one), a lot of time, headache, and money down the road.
It’s important to remember that every person is different, and there are different stages of Alzheimer’s: preclinical, mild (early-stage), moderate, and severe (late-stage).
Signs & Symptoms
The following are just a few signs and symptoms to help you know if your loved one might have Alzheimer’s. If you or your loved one are experiencing any of these, it is best to consult with your doctor about how to proceed.
- Memory Loss – People with Alzheimer’s may forget things they’ve learned (like specific dates or activities) They may also repeat themselves or ask for the same information over and over again.
- Struggling to Plan or Solve Problems — Someone with Alzheimer’s may take longer to complete simple tasks. They may also struggle following simple directions.
- Easily Confused – Those suffering with Alzheimer’s often lose track of time. They may also easily forget where they are, and how they got there.
- Losing Things – It is common for someone with Alzheimer’s to misplace items and struggle with retracing their steps.
- Mood Swings– You may notice major shifts in mood and personality as they experience a range of emotions when they are confused, suspicious, and even depressed.
Caregiving and Alzheimer’s
There’s no doubt about it–caregiving is a big job, and one of the toughest ones out there. Not only is it challenging physically, but it can be mentally straining as well.
Many family member caregivers struggle with the daily demands and challenges of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Dementia. This can be harmful to their health as the physical and mental exhaustion can lead to social isolation, high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Alzheimer’s is not an unfamiliar disease as it affects nearly 47 million people worldwide, with over 5 million residing in the United States. At Aegis Home Care and Hospice, our experienced team of medical professionals understands this disease well and are equipped with the necessary skills to ensure your loved one receives the care and comfort they need.
Key Components to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s
Because someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may experience an array of struggles including cognitive decline, behavioral tendencies, psychological disorders, physiological changes, and jumbled speech, caregiving for them can become complex. Fortunately, our skilled nurses meet these requirements and play a vital role in caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. They help with a variety of duties including:
- Helping the patient maintain his/her independence
- Helping the patient with grooming/bathing
- Providing educational support for both the patient and the family of the patient
- Supporting and encouraging the patient with physical exercises
- Improving mental health through compassionate service and brain stimulation
- Encouraging social activity
- Setting realistic and achievable goals for the patient
Nurses also bring a wealth of knowledge to the table when it comes to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Dementia. Because they are equipped with the early signs and symptoms of dementia, they can often help detect it early–which can aid in providing more accurate treatment. They also understand how the disease progresses and how medications work–proving to be a valuable liaison with family members.
What Aegis Can Offer YOU
Our staff is warm, friendly, and communicates with patients in a meaningful way, all while helping them feel important, safe, and comfortable. Because we are committed to giving our clients the highest quality home care possible, all Aegis clinicians who enter your home meet our strict hiring standards. We also provide ongoing training and education to ensure we are always delivering the excellent care our clients have come to expect.
Because Aegis offers a variety of care option, you can have peace of mind knowing that no matter how your care needs change over time, Aegis will be there to meet your needs. Let us help you care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. Call us at 480-219-4790, or visit our website by clicking here for more information.