The sixth leading cause of death in the United States is Alzheimer’s. “Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of a group of brain diseases called dementias,” according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The search for a cure is still underway.
World Alzheimer’s Month is an international campaign from Alzheimer’s Disease International that takes place each September. ‘Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s’ is this year’s theme, per Alzheimer’s Disease International.
Preventing and managing high blood pressure; managing blood sugar; maintaining a healthy weight; being physically active; quitting smoking; avoiding excessive drinking; preventing and correcting hearing loss; and getting enough sleep are healthy lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, per information provided by the CDC.
The disease which can “affect one’s ability to carry out routine daily activities” destroys brain cells. It causes memory, thinking, and behavior problems. The drastic impact of Alzheimer’s can be severe enough to impact “work, lifelong hobbies, and an individual’s social life,” according to the CDC.
In 2014, the late former model and restaurateur B. Smith announced that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“Women account for almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease,” Johns Hopkins Medicine reported.
The Alzheimer’s Association reminds that Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses slowly. Early, middle, and late mark three general stages of it. In the early stage, a symptom such as coming up with the right word or name may be identifiable. In the middle-stage Alzheimer’s, which is the longest stage that last for many years, a person who lives with it may become “forgetful of events or personal history.” Extensive care may be required in the late stage, per The Alzheimer’s Association. For many Alzheimer’s caregivers in this position, taking care of someone who has been diagnosed with the serious health issue can require around-the-clock care, especially during late stages of the disease.
“Everyone living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia is at risk for wandering,” according to more information provided by The Alzheimer’s Association.
And when an Alzheimer’s patient is missing, exhausted families often panic. Some have turned to inventions such as GPS SmartSole®, a wearable GPS tracker system that can be worn in shoes, to help track down loved ones.
Seniors who can still maintain their independence in home settings may call people like Tyre Larkins to give families a caregiver break in a home setting. The Annapolitan works as a patient care technician and runs her business called Agape’ Love Senior Care part time. She has cared for the elderly in different settings over the years.
“I love seeing how excited they are to see me when I come,” Larkins said.
Larkins added that companionship is provided for lonely seniors who need someone to listen to them, in addition to meeting services ranging from transportation to bathing through her business. Some of her clients consist of seniors who do not want to burden their family with small tasks. Larkins charges a flat rate plus mileage for rendering services.
“Our main priority is safety but beyond that each client’s needs set is different. Some clients may just need someone to run errands for them or provide transportation to an appointment. Other clients, including our clients living with Alzheimer’s need more detailed care. They require more patience and empathy with their care,” Larkins said. “They may need someone to help with bathing and dressing or someone just to keep an eye on them to ensure that they don’t injure themselves. We want them to all still have some sense of independence, even with us there.”
The certified geriatric nursing assistant of eight years said that the most rewarding thing about running her business is the bonds that she creates with her clients. Striking a balance between independence and support can impact a senior’s feelings about transitions or needing help.
The National Institute on Aging pointed out that activities that involve engaging the mind include playing a board or card game; working on a puzzle together; reading poems or a book together; writing cards to other family members and friends; and playing a computer game.
“Participating together in activities your loved one enjoys can help improve their quality of life and manage behavior changes that may come with the disease, such as sleep problems, aggression, and agitation. It can also help grow and strengthen your connection,” the National Institute on Aging reported.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia via https://www.alz.org/alzheimer_s_dementia. Connect with Agape’ Love Senior Care through https://www.facebook.com/agapeloveseniorcare.