Aug 31, 2018 by Shannon Meller
Happy to see you. Welcome back to part two in our four-part series for Alzheimer’s Care & Awareness Month. This week, we will be taking a look at how Alzheimer’s disease progresses in individuals and how you can care for your loved one who may be diagnosed with the disease.
In case you missed the first one:
Alzheimer’s Disease does not develop rapidly, and it develops quite slowly and the symptoms that are associated with it will worsen as time progresses. There are three main stages of Alzheimer’, which include early, middle, and late. The rate of progression of the disease will vary and each one of the stages will provide experts a better look at your loved one’s abilities and where they may stand within the disease. In addition, it can help provide you, caregivers, and health providers with a better strategy to develop an Alzheimer’s care plan.
Individuals who are in the first stages of Alzheimer’s Disease will find that they cannot retain new information and they may mix up words or find themselves unable to properly form sentences. In addition, individuals may have difficulty with planning and organization. Typically, seniors in this stage can still live independently.
Your loved one will likely be able to still do a lot of things on his or her own at this point, but now is when you want to start to plan long-term for your loved one. You should start planning their finances, getting all legal orders in affair, and discuss what the future care options are. Now would also be the time to create a daily routine that your loved one can follow as this will help them avoid some stress and frustration.
Considered the longest of the stages, you will find that your loved one will experience a larger disruption in their life. Daily tasks will be harder to perform, and you may find that your loved one struggles with even the simplest of tasks. They may not be able to express their emotions or thoughts well and they will likely lose track of time and place. It may be a good idea to consider an in-home care company or facility at this point.
It will take a lot of time, patience, and expertise to provide Alzheimer’s care for your loved on in this stage. You will likely need to help with many daily activities to include cooking, laundry, and bathing. You want to also take steps to make sure your loved one’s home is safe for them and that preventive measures are taken to avoid wandering. Your loved one will have a difficult time communicating with you, so you must learn to recognize their non-verbal cues and respond to them. On a side note, make sure that your loved one’s care plan has a routine to follow to prevent sundowning.
During the late stage, severe changes will be noticed, and you will likely find that your loved one’s thought process, mood, and physical condition have worsened. The brain will start to deteriorate during this stage and as it happens, your loved one may completely lose awareness of their environment and they may no longer be able to express their needs. Around the clock Alzheimer’s care is usually required and sought after at this point.
Caregivers and healthcare providers will work on a 24-hour basis to provide care to your loved one and help them with their daily living needs. At this point, it is most important that you keep your loved one as comfortable as possible. Always keep your eye out for any signs of discomfort, illness, or pain. You also want to make sure that your loved one continues to eat and drink enough fluids throughout the day.
Always remember that there is help out there to assist you in your journey towards taking care of your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. You can seek out respite care services to provide you with the relief you need.
Comfort Keepers of Milwaukee, WI is proud to be part of the Walk To End Alzheimer’s, which is held by the Alzheimer’s Association in over 600 communities throughout the nation. Please, visit our page to learn more, to donate, or to find a walk near you. Together we can help other’s through Alzheimer’s care, awareness, and research.
The Walk To End Alzheimer’s
Date: Sunday, September 16th
Place: Henry Maier Festival Park
200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Time: Registration at 8 am
Ceremony at 9:30 am
Walk at 10 am
Route Length: 2 miles
Come back next week to see how Alzheimer’s effects the brain!