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When a Relative Has Alzheimer's, Quality Care Is the Most Important Thing You Can Provide
Sep 8, 2015 by Anonymous
Memory loss is one of the most common ailments that people face as they get older, and it's also one of the most taxing issues for families as well. Nearly half (40%) of all families who have an elderly relative dealing with dementia state that the emotional stress of everything is the worst part -- not just for the relative, but also for the family as a whole.
The good news is that your family certainly isn't alone in the process, and there are plenty of resources available to help you understand what your loved one is going through. Here's just a quick look at one of the most common cognitive impairments in elderly people: Alzheimer's disease.
- Alzheimer's disease is just one type of dementia, but it's the most common form and comprises anywhere between 60 - 80% of all cases of dementia. Experts estimate that one new case of Alzheimer's is diagnosed in the U.S. every 67 seconds, and approximately 44 million people across the globe suffer from this disease.
- Despite being very common, Alzheimer's isn't really a normal part of aging -- that is, it's not something that naturally happens in the brain as it ages. Alzheimer's is typically found in elderly people, but early onset Alzheimer's can occur in adults as young as 40 or 50 years old.
- The effects of Alzheimer's disease are, as far as medical professionals are currently aware, irreversible. There's no "cure" for the disease, but researchers are working hard to find ways to alleviate the symptoms and slow down the disease as it takes hold.
- The best way to care for a person with Alzheimer's, medical professionals say, is to provide a high-quality living environment that is stimulating without being overwhelming. The simplest things can often make the greatest impacts. Pet therapy sessions, a small flower garden to tend, or having an "old school" record player and a couple of familiar albums available -- these are all things that stimulate the brain and provide comfort to someone suffering from a cognitive impairment like Alzheimer's.
It's never easy to see a loved one go through such a difficult time, but it's just as difficult to understand that the best possible care for someone experiencing memory loss as they age is not always the in-home care provided by relatives. Choosing to explore a variety of senior living options doesn't mean that you're abandoning your loved one; it simply means that you want to provide the best care possible, and you yourself may not be capable of handling everything on your own.
And that's completely okay. There are plenty of experienced and professional caregivers for the elderly, specifically for those dealing with memory loss. Just being there for your loved one is the most important thing you can do.