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“Is a Senior Living Community an appropriate option for someone with Alzheimer’s?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:34:06 PM
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Larger group facilities are not ideal for persons suffering from memory loss. As the name suggests, most senior living “communities” are designed to foster social interaction; i.e., to bring people together. But by the very nature of their disease, people with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia become isolated from those around them and incapable of social interaction. In addition to loss of memory, the disease causes loss of communication skills and changes in the person’s behavior and personality. This can be devastating to relationships.

Aside from the social aspects there is the loss of judgment that accompanies the disease. As functioning becomes increasingly impaired, people with Alzheimer’s literally lose their way in the world. They may be prone to wandering. They become dependent on caregivers for help with tasks such as dressing, washing and even eating. And with the loss of judgment comes an increased demand for safety.

For these reasons, people with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia are best cared for in a secure, home-like environment with familiar surroundings and a high ratio of caregivers to residents. It is a specialized environment and a level of care that conventional group facilities are simply not equipped to provide.

Please support our loca Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

“Is a Senior Living Community an appropriate option for someone with Alzheimer’s?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:33:47 PM
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Larger group facilities are not ideal for persons suffering from memory loss. As the name suggests, most senior living “communities” are designed to foster social interaction; i.e., to bring people together. But by the very nature of their disease, people with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia become isolated from those around them and incapable of social interaction. In addition to loss of memory, the disease causes loss of communication skills and changes in the person’s behavior and personality. This can be devastating to relationships.

Aside from the social aspects there is the loss of judgment that accompanies the disease. As functioning becomes increasingly impaired, people with Alzheimer’s literally lose their way in the world. They may be prone to wandering. They become dependent on caregivers for help with tasks such as dressing, washing and even eating. And with the loss of judgment comes an increased demand for safety.

For these reasons, people with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia are best cared for in a secure, home-like environment with familiar surroundings and a high ratio of caregivers to residents. It is a specialized environment and a level of care that conventional group facilities are simply not equipped to provide.

Please support our loca Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 1 “Business As Usual”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:33:26 PM
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Firsthand experience with people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be misleading – symptoms appear, the diagnosis is confirmed, and the individual soon shows increasingly severe signs of cognitive impairment.  As time goes on, the decline becomes even more evident and more rapid, but we’re only seeing the end result of a process long in the making.  The fact is, from Stage 1 through Stage 7, the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease may take as long as 25 years or more.

Medical evidence reveals that Alzheimer’s disease may be damaging the brain for nearly two decades before the first symptoms appear.  During this time – the period researchers have identified as Stage 1 – the person shows no outward signs.  Cognitive function is normal, and for the individual it’s seemingly business as usual.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 2 – “Just Getting a Little Forgetful”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:32:12 PM
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Minor forgetfulness is the most typical symptom exhibited by people in Stage 2. However, “forgetfulness” is a familiar complaint among members of our nation’s 65-and-over population, even those not suffering from Alzheimer’s. In fact, at least half of all persons in this age group report occasional mild difficulty in recalling someone’s name or remembering where they left items such as keys or eyeglasses. Forgetfulness can be caused by any number of factors, many unrelated to Alzheimer’s Disease. But while forgetfulness is simply a normal aspect of aging and may not be particularly noticeable to loved ones, or even the family physician, persons with these symptoms may later be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In confirmed cases of Alzheimer’s, it is routinely discovered that the individual had previously exhibited “Stage 2” symptoms.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 3 – “Symptoms Becoming Noticeable”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:31:41 PM
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In Stage 3 of the disease’s progression, the person’s difficulty in performing certain mental tasks becomes evident to family members and close associates. The individual may be unable to find the right word when speaking or recall something they just read. If he or she holds a job, co-workers or supervisors may notice an obvious decline in job performance, particularly if it involves complex planning or organizational skills. The individual may find it increasingly difficult to master new job skills, to comprehend technical data or follow detailed instructions. This inability to concentrate can produce feelings of anxiety. In such cases, professional counselors may recommend taking retirement or withdrawing from demanding activities to ease the psychological stress. For the majority of people in Stage 3, obvious signs of dementia will appear within two-to-four years.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 4 – “Diagnosis: Alzheimer’s”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:30:51 PM
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At this stage, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be made with considerable certainty. The individual exhibits increased difficulty with numbers, often apparent in their inability to manage finances (i.e., they frequently write the wrong date or wrong amount on checks or payment slips). They may have trouble remembering the day of the week or month of the year. They may forget details from their own past. As their personal frustration with these previously simple tasks increases, they become more reserved and less responsive to others. Rather than acknowledge the pain of their decreased mental capacity, they attempt to deny it; to hide it – even from themselves – by withdrawing from conversations and social interaction. Studies show the duration of this stage has a median of approximately two years.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 5 – “Memory Gaps and Confusion”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:30:22 PM
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The severity of cognitive decline at this stage typically creates difficulties with basic activities of daily living and reduces the likelihood that the individual can safely live alone.  Without help, the individual can safely live alone.  Without help, the individual may be unable to identify or prepare proper foods.  Their ability to recall vital information such as their age, address or the current year is sporadic.  They may wear the same clothes day after day – unable to choose apparel appropriate for current weather conditions.  Because they are incapable of making reasonable choices, they can become vulnerable to strangers and scam artists.  Loved ones and close associates will notice a marked change in the individual’s behavior, with increasing instances of unprovoked anger and suspicion.  The average duration of Stage 5 is one-and-a-half years depending on other non-related health conditions.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 6 – “Severe Mental and Physical Decline”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:10:57 PM
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Symptoms at this stage are severe enough to jeopardize the individual’s well-being.  Early signs of Stage 6 include an inability to dress without assistance; i.e., dressing backwards or putting street clothes over night clothes.  Hygiene and cleanliness become issues.  The person may be unable to adjust the temperature of bathwater or brush teeth.  As the disease progresses, they become incontinent and require assistance with all aspects of toileting.  Because of the severity of cognitive decline, they may display little or no knowledge of current circumstances, and may confuse loved ones with deceased relatives, or forget the names of their parents or spouse.  They exhibit difficulty in speaking.  Their fear and frustration can trigger emotional outbursts and aggressive behavior.  Stage 6 lasts an average of two-and-a-half years depending on other non-related health conditions.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s: Stage 7 – “Functional Failure and Death”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:10:40 PM
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In Stage 7, or what is often termed “late-stage Alzheimer’s,” individuals require continuous assistance in order to survive.  At this stage, speech is limited to a handful of intelligible words at most.  The individual subsequently loses all ability to speak.  This is soon followed by a decrease in their ability to walk.  Eventually movement itself is limited and the person becomes unable to sit or even hold their head up without assistance. The diminished functioning also affects their ability to smile, with only observable facial expression being a grimace.  Victims of late-stage Alzheimer’s may live on in this tragic condition indefinitely, although because of other contributing factors such as pneumonia, aspiration, severe flu, infection, cancer, COPD, CHF, etc., this last stage rarely lasts more than two years.  Those who do live on are likely to exhibit increased rigidity as well as “primitive” or “infantile” reflexes such as sucking before finally passing away.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

“Dad seems so blue. Is this another symptom of the disease? What’s the best way to handle it?”

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 1:10:22 PM
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According to the Alzheimer’s Association, up to 40% of people with Alzheimer’s are clinically depressed. However, diagnosing their depression may be difficult. One reason is their disease often precludes them from articulating their feelings.  Another is that many symptoms of depression such as apathy and social withdrawal are themselves symptoms of dementia. In addition, side-effects from certain medications or unrecognized medical conditions can be mistaken for depression. For all these reasons the first step in accurate diagnosis is a professional medical evaluation. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests consulting a geriatric psychiatrist or clinical psychologist with an emphasis on the elderly.

Treating depression in someone with Alzheimer’s usually involves a combination of medication and social therapies. One of several medically-approved antidepressants may be prescribed. Also, family members and caregivers are encouraged to develop a supportive routine to help the individual reconnect to the activities and people they enjoy.

Please support our local Alzheimer’s Association at 316-267-7333.

 

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