A big part of many modern discussions about Alzheimer’s disease revolves around what happens inside the body and the brain as the condition progresses.
While the biology and pathology of this terminal disease can be interesting, at least from a scientific perspective, there’s a lot more that residents of Hollywood and elsewhere and their caregivers should be learning about this medical condition, including future needs as someone declines mentally and physically.
The team at Accredited Home Care is always available to discuss Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, including how Alzheimer’s disease can progress in many people. This conversation can also include what housing and caregiving options might be needed in the future for clients and their families as someone’s mental and physical needs and situations change.
Our experts are also happy to share local resources for different health needs. As a home health care agency that has been working with thousands of patients throughout Southern California for more than 40 years, we have access to a variety of therapists to help with different health needs. We also know many of the other care options that may be needed later in life.
We know that it can be a challenging time of life for clients and their families, especially since a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is currently irreversible and periods of mental and physical decline are expected as it progresses. How long it takes to reach these different stages varies by each individual, but there are some different options that can slow the process down, including diet and regular exercise.
But even though it can be a scary time, it can also be a good opportunity for family members to become closer and learn more about the disease including how to live with it and what to expect.
Celebrating Alzheimer’s Month
If you’re interested in learning more, this is an ideal occasion.
September is World’s Alzheimer’s Month, an international observance and opportunity to learn more about how this devastating disease can affect so many people in so many communities, including more than 5 million Americans.
Since 2012, people worldwide have been exchanging information and sharing resources about the scope of the disease in their respective communities and types of assistance available. Alzheimer’s Disease International launched the effort to improve awareness, reduce stigmas around this and other forms of dementia and encourage more support at every level.
Along with having a month of information, many also come together on Sept. 21 for World Alzheimer’s Day. Though people can get involved in their local communities every day, people are encouraged and told they’re supported if they try to push for change this time of year.
The month is also a chance to learn how widespread Alzheimer’s is along with the need to do more and support others, starting with wearing purple bracelets or sharing information on social media.
Learning more about housing options
Part of the education about Alzheimer’s disease includes trying to observe what someone’s needs are now and what might be different in the future.
For instance, someone with early-stage Alzheimer’s may do fine living on their own, even if they forget some details occasionally.
However, as the disease progresses, they may no longer be safe by themselves. They might forget to turn off a burner on the stove. They may eat spoiled food or items that aren’t food at all. They may forget their medication, take a wrong dose, or forget where they are and wander away without anyone being aware of it. They also may have trouble walking or other balance problems independent of their dementias.
So family members need to be aware of these possibilities and discuss safety options, including:
- Regular check-ins. This allows someone to call or visit with them on a regular basis, even daily. This can include the same caregiver or different caregivers, such as therapists or nurses.
- Full-time care. A 24-hour caregiver may be needed as someone’s mental or physical health changes. A hired caregiver or a family member will always be present in case the client needs help in the daytime or the nighttime. This can be tiring but useful, so if you’re considering this role, make sure to look into respite care options to make sure you have a break sometimes.
- Assisted living. If a person is unable to live at home safely, the next step is to relocate to a facility that offers more advanced medical care in a safe environment. This can be stressful for the client and family members but sometimes is a decent solution for those who aren’t able to stay safely at home.
- Memory care facility. Some assisted living facilities now have added higher-security areas especially for people with Alzheimer’s disease. The staff is trained in dealing with residents who may forget details on a regular basis, who are anxious about their conditions and could even hurt themselves or others.As numbers of those with Alzheimer’s disease continue to grow, we may even see more of these types of services available.