A loved one may have just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  You may be wondering what it is?  Hopefully after reading this you’ll have a better understanding of it.  More than just a better understanding.  You can also know what to expect.

Alzheimer’s disease is neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss.  Which leads to a decline in cognitive ability.  It’s a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behaviour.  Simply put, it will make people forget things and act strangely.  That over simplifies the condition.  But, it’s the most basic way of understanding.

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of the aging process.  Most people think that Alzheimer’s is simply memory loss.  That your loved one is simply forgetting things.  The cells in the brain are dying.  Which leads to more than just memory loss.  People do become forgetful as they age.  But, Alzheimer’s is more than just forgetting.  The brain is actually changing due to cells dying.

Alzheimer's disease brain scan

Alzheimer’s disease brain scan

Alzheimer’s will get worse over time.  Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease.  The symptoms will get worse as your loved one progresses with the disease.  Mild memory loss is common in the early stages.  While patients in the later stages will experience the inability to communicate.  It will simply be impossible for the person to communicate with others or to respond to stimulus in their environment.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s.  That doesn’t mean no one is working on it.  It means that currently there is no cure.  There are medications that may slow the process down a bit.  But, the eventual outcome is still the same.  No one has ever been cured of Alzheimer’s.  A person can live with Alzheimer’s for between four and twenty years.

Note: However, just recently some breaking news on Alzheimer’s research!

The changes will be subtle at first.  Your loved one will forget phone numbers.  They may forget their address.  It will eventually progress and get worse.  They will forget who you are.  At some point they will no longer be able to communicate in intelligible sentences.  Their communication will be similar to that of a baby’s.  They will no longer be able to express themselves in ways that people can understand.

Learning that a loved one has Alzheimer’s can be difficult.  There’s no time to be in denial.  You’re going to want to educate yourself about the disease as soon as possible.  There will be many changes in your life ahead of you.  Especially if you live with the person that has Alzheimer’s.  You’re going to want to take the time out to learn how to protect your loved one.  Which means you’ll have to remove things like knobs from stoves.  You’ll also want to make sure your loved one always has some form of identification on them.  Such as a necklace or bracelet identification incase they wonder off.  It will be important for whoever finds them to know not only that they have Alzheimer’s.  But, also who they are.

It’s important for you to realize you’re not alone in this.  There are support groups in British Columbia that you can attend.  You’ll want to be active in any and all medical treatment that your loved one receives.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Any good doctor should be ready and willing to answer all that you may have.  Don’t forget to take care of yourself.  You need to be strong so you can be there for the person with Alzheimer’s.

If your loved one needs personal care please call us now at (604) 210-1038