What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that destroys one’s memory, thinking skills, and other cognitive abilities that are serious enough to affect daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases. It is estimated that more than 5 million Americans suffer from some form of Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s was first discovered in 1906 and since then, doctors and scientists have made strides in researching and understanding the disease. Here are some things we do know:
- Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as memory loss and thinking skills gradually worsen as a person gets older. They are unable to carry on a conversation or perform daily duties. The range of progression, however, can last anywhere from eight to twenty years depending on the individual.
- Alzheimer’s does not currently have a cure, however treatments for symptoms have been found and continue to be found as research continues. Some of these treatments include medication for memory loss, therapies for Sundowners symptoms, treatments for sleep changes, and treatments for other behavioral changes.
- Today, Alzheimer’s is at the forefront of biomedical research. For example, Billionaire Bill Gates set aside $100 million for Alzheimer’s research in hopes that the money will lead to innovation that will produce outcomes to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, allow for earlier detection, and increase preventative treatments.
While much progress has been made since its discovery, there are many unanswered questions about the complicated disease, including a cure. Questions like the cause of the disease, the exact correlation between Alzheimer’s and genetics, how the disease differs between person to person, and why it develops in seniors age sixty and over, are all questions that doctors and researchers continue to study.
Finding a Memory Care Facility
When it comes to finding a home for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, it is important to understand just what a memory care facility is. While memory care homes can sometimes exist within an assisted living community or a residential care home, they have very different characteristics and things to look for.
One of the distinctions of memory care is the importance of security. It is common for patients with Alzheimer’s to wander outside of secure areas, therefore memory care facilities should have quality security technology such as monitoring bracelets and security cameras. In most homes, patients still have access to secure locations where they can enjoy the outdoors under the supervision of staff.
Lastly, memory care facilities should be staffed with professionals who are trained specifically in working with Alzheimer’s patients. For example, Sundowner’s symptoms cause confusion and agitation, and memory care staff should be trained on how to help patients reduce symptoms like stress levels and anxiety.
Searching for a memory care home for your loved one can be tough, and often scary. In addition to finding a place where he or she can have a comfortable place to live, you also have to look for things like whether or not the home has a well-trained staff and if there is a good security system in place.
Seeking help from friends or other family members who have been through the same process is a helpful way to ensure you’re asking the right questions and choosing the right home for your loved one. Alternatively, you can seek the free advice from experienced advisors, like those at Senior Living Specialists, who can provide quality guidance due to their relationships with local facilities and members of their staff. Regardless, be sure to do your homework and use your resources to ensure your loved one is taken care of.