National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and Home Care Services

While many people with an elderly relative receiving in-home care may think of Alzheimer’s Disease as a recently discovered disease, it was actually first discussed in 1906. Perhaps one reason for this misconception is that, despite several treatments that have been shown to slow the progression of the disease, there is no cure. There has also historically been a stigma around cognitive illnesses that kept Alzheimer’s patients and their love ones from discussing the disease. That’s why National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month was established, to get Alzheimer’s information to those whose loved ones may be living with this disease.

Alzheimer’s Facts – Caring for Seniors

According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s is a brain disease where clumps of proteins and tangles of fibers form in the part of the brain responsible for memory. Here are some more facts about Alzheimer’s disease:

  • More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
  • The biggest risk factors for Alzheimer’s are age and family history. While younger people can have the disease (called “Early Onset Alzheimer’s,” it most commonly affects those over 65.
  • Heart disease and high blood pressure may also be risk factors, scientists are finding.
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

Alzheimer’s is a deadly and devastating disease, in part because of its relatively slow progression and the sense that an elderly person can become “lost inside themselves,” not to mention the effect it has on the family. An important part of awareness in senior care is being able to recognize the disease and discuss it with a medical professional.

Recognizing the Signs of Alzheimer’s in Senior Care

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alzheimer’s should not be mistaken as a sign of normal aging. Similarly, the National Institute on Aging lists the following warning signs of Alzheimer’s:

  • Memory loss
  • Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
  • Wandering and/or getting lost
  • Misplacing things frequently
  • Increased anxiety or aggression

An in-home care aide can help in many ways with patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. For example, personal care aides can provide assistance with bathing, grooming and dressing.  Medication reminders are an important part of an in-home care program for a person with Alzheimer’s, ensuring that important medications aren’t missed. And misplaced items may be found easier in a cleaner environment, meaning home care provided light housekeeping can help.

Alzheimer’s and Caregivers

One frequently overlooked facet of Alzheimer’s is the toll it can take on the family of the person with the disease, especially family caregivers. Because the senior with Alzheimer’s doesn’t necessarily remember or understand the effect the disease has on them, a family caregiver can experience an abnormally high amount of stress. A person with Alzheimer’s may experience mood and personality changes that are especially difficult on family caregivers, especially when that caregiver is elderly as well and dealing with his or her own health issues. That’s why an in-home caregiver from a senior care agency can be enormously helpful.

Becoming a Paid Caregiver for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

When a senior with Alzheimer’s has made the decision to continue living at home rather than in an assisted living or long term care facility, it often falls to family members to act as caregivers. That time and effort can be physically and financially difficult. In many places, a family member can become a paid caregiver for an elderly relative, which can relieve the financial burden.

The process for becoming a paid caregiver for an elderly relative is not difficult, but it can take a little effort, and some paperwork and documentation is required.

Home Care Powered By AUAF – Personalized Home Care for Seniors

Whether an elderly person living with Alzheimer’s is living alone or has a family caregiver, our responsible in-home caregivers can provide services that deliver quality care. Call us at 773-274-9262 or contact us to find out how dedicated senior care can make things easier for you and your family. You can also find out how to apply to become a paid caregiver for your elderly relative.

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