Understanding 3 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease

While every patient is different, when a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, they usually have experienced minor memory loss or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) during the early stage. This disease often goes undiagnosed, and in some cases misdiagnosed, for years before the symptoms become evident.

Some stages overlap. The changes in the brain that occur during the preclinical stages of Alzheimer’s Disease may be present but undetected for years or even decades before any noticeable symptoms occur. Often, by the time these changes appear, and the impairment becomes noticeable, the disease has progressed to the middle stage. Many times, the initial stages are either ignored or mistaken for depression or another illness.

Memory Loss

While the hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for forming new memories and learning new information, it is often damaged in Alzheimer’s. This means that people with Alzheimer’s disease have a hard time remembering recent events and often repeat conversations. While hippocampus activity is important for recent or present memory retrieval, it is less important for long-term memories. Therefore, in the initial stages of the disease, a person may remember a past event perfectly despite having a damaged hippocampus.

The first indicator of Alzheimer’s disease is often semantic memory. A patient with the disease has a progressive decline in general knowledge that they once could recall easily. For instance, questions about celebrities and well-known logos are more difficult for them to answer. In later stages, they may also have difficulty identifying objects and animals. Some people with the disease can no longer identify familiar objects, but they may remember how they felt about an important event or relationship. Even if they don’t remember specific details, they may recognize certain objects or recall emotions from seeing a drawing or photograph.

Dementia

Dementia in Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder in which a person loses cognitive abilities. Researchers studied this condition and the effect of executive function on the severity of dementia. Some studies even show that age can influence cognitive function. However, the current state of our knowledge of dementia is still limited.

The Stroop task and the Stroop color-word tests have been considered the gold standard for assessing impairment specifically in the prefrontal cortices of the brain. Researchers have used the Stroop method to determine the effect of both age and dementia on brain performance since the 1930s. Other studies have examined the role of negative priming, where subjects with Alzheimer’s tend to have more difficulty with the tasks. Studies on the effect of aging and dementia and memory performance have revealed that different types of dementia affect different components of memory and attention. For example, age-related differences in inhibitory functioning are found in the Stroop tests, meaning healthy elderly participants were more likely to take their time to comprehend the questions and answer correctly. Older people with mild Alzheimer’s disease suffer worse performance in the task.

Nursing Care Resources

For people who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, there are many nursing care resources for Alzheimer’s. Many of these resources will help the caregiver better understand the disease, teach them how to manage the disease, and provide additional support. In addition to providing information on specific conditions, they will provide practical information for long-term care communities. Take the time to learn about your local community resources and be well informed before you decide on a care facility or home nursing provider.

Medicaid is a state-funded program for the elderly and low-income families. Individuals with Alzheimer’s may qualify for Medicaid benefits, which will cover the cost of nursing home care. Each state administers Medicaid programs separately, and the benefits of caring for an individual with dementia may vary. This information can help you find out if Medicaid will cover the care your loved one needs.

When Is it Time to Look Closer at ADLs for Your Senior?

Activities of daily living, or ADLs, are those basic activities that your elderly family member performs just in the course of normal daily life. These are activities like moving around safely, feeding herself, and handling bathing and grooming tasks. It’s not always easy to know that these tasks are giving your senior trouble, which might be why you notice some of these issues first.

Your Senior Seems to Be Having Trouble with Financial Errors

Everyone can make an error in their finances from time to time. When it comes to your senior, what you’re looking for is an increasing pattern of errors and even difficulty doing simple things that have always been easy, like paying bills. If mail is piling up in her home, this might be a sign to look deeper, too.

You’re Questioning Your Senior’s Ability to Keep Driving

Driving is such a sensitive subject, but the reality is that your elderly family member is not likely to be able to keep driving no matter what. If you’re at a stage where you’re wondering if she’s okay to be driving, there may be other activities that are giving her trouble, too. It’s important to look at all of those possibilities and see what’s going on.

Your Senior’s Health Is Taking a Turn

Is your elderly family member’s health taking a bad turn? If that’s happening, there may be some issues she’s experiencing in caring for herself and her health on her own. It’s also important that you know whether your senior has experienced any falls or not. Once a senior falls, she’s twice as likely to fall again. Ask your elderly family member if she’s going to her doctor more often or if she’s had to go to the emergency room.

You’re Noticing Issues with Memory and Cognition

Some of the health issues that your senior might be facing could affect her memory and her ability to think. If you’re noticing signs of poor judgement or simply a lack of awareness of her surroundings, then it might be time to look at what else is going on in her life. These signs could be a result of stress or depression, or they could be signs of something more serious.

Once you’ve had a chance to talk with your senior and her doctor, you may have determined that your elderly family member needs some more help. Senior care services can be the perfect answer because they offer assistance without causing your senior to change her living situation.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Lantana, FL, or the surrounding areas, please give us a call at (561) 465-5920

Use IADLs and ADLs to Guide Your Mom’s Care Plan

Activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are a good way to assess how well your mom can live alone. ADLs cover things she must be able to do to survive. IADLs are tasks she needs to be able to complete in order to age at home comfortably and safely.

When you’re coming up with the elderly care services that most benefit your mom, ADLs and IADLs are the best way to decide. Use these lists to pinpoint where she needs care and where she can do things independently.

A List of ADLs

There are six main ADLs. They are:

  • Feeding oneself and drinking fluids to avoid dehydration
  • Bathing or showering independently
  • Using the toilet correctly, cleaning up after, and being able to hold the bladder
  • Walking from room to room and up and down stairs without help
  • Getting in and out of bed, a car, and standing up after sitting
  • Dressing oneself

The ADLs ensure a person can chew and swallow so that they fuel their body with vital nutrients. For aging adults who live alone, ADLs are the steps they take to stay clean and avoid bacterial infections. They can get up and move around, which helps avoid pressure sores. If they can’t do these independently, elderly care services that help with personal care, ambulation, feeding, and dressing.

A List of IADLs

IADLs cover a lot of ground. While ADLs cover swallowing liquids and foods, IADLs cover cooking those foods and getting the glass of water or juice. Other IADLs are:

  • Cleaning and housekeeping
  • Taking prescription medications correctly and ordering refills when needed
  • Choosing insurance coverage and plans
  • Laundry
  • Driving or being able to arrange a ride
  • Paying bills and depositing checks
  • Answering the phone and making calls
  • Creating shopping lists, budgeting, and buying groceries and other necessities

Caregivers can help with that, too. Your parents can have caregivers help them make payments on time. They can make calls to schedule appointments or order refills. Caregivers can cook meals, clean the house, and drive your parents around. If needed, caregivers can help your parents complete them instead of taking over and doing them for them.

The level of services needed depends on your parents’ abilities. They may be able to do some of the IADLs or ADLs on their own, so they’ll only need a few elderly care services. They may need higher levels of care, which means daily elderly care for hours at a time. Either way, all it takes to make arrangements is one phone call.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in Boynton Beach, FL, or the surrounding areas, please give us a call at (561) 465-5920