Staying Educated on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care

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Since its discovery in the early 20th century, the landscape surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia has drastically changed. Every year, researchers find new information on disease progression or how to treat it. Staying educated on Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia care is important not only for those who administer said care, but for families as well.

There is hardly a better time to refresh your knowledge about these cognitive conditions than Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Staff Education Week—which began just today. This week was created to help enlighten healthcare workers treating those with one of these diseases, but can be helpful to just about anyone.

Staying Educated on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care

Understanding Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia is a term that covers an array of symptoms such as a decline in memory, reasoning skills, and behavior changes. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that worsens over time. It was once believed that, in Alzheimer’s Disease, the neurons in the brain die, which leads to memory loss. However, as science keeps advancing, so does our understanding of the disease. Contemporary research shows that even in Alzheimer’s Disease, continuing to stimulate the brain fosters new neuron formation, giving researchers new hope for proactive care. Co-director of John Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center, Dr. Esther Oh, says that even just regularly engaging with loved ones and activities that interest you can improve your brain health.

Despite being a prevalent issue among older adults for decades, the current public health workforce has shockingly little formal training on this condition. Only two states require training in dementia for nurses, and less than 3% of medical students choose geriatric electives during their training.

Whenever new insights emerge, it’s important to take them into account. Depending on the information, it’s possible it could impact how we approach caring for those struggling with dementia-related conditions.

Learning more about care transitions

People living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may experience more than one care transition, which refers to moving an individual from one setting to another. This can be quite challenging for those struggling with any cognitive disease, as changes are disorienting and aggravating to these individuals.

If you are providing care to someone with Alzheimer’s you may have to move them from their home, to your home, to a care facility. Planning for these transitions well in advance creates a smoother transition for all involved.

  • Make sure all their important documents are in order. Before beginning any sort of transition, make sure you have all their necessary health and legal documents in order. Keep them in an easy-to-access folder for the ease of both your loved one and yourself.
  • Create a comfortable environment. When transitioning your loved one’s living space, make sure their new space is filled with familiar items. Photos, pieces of furniture, and personal products all help create a comfortable environment.
  • Slow and steady wins the race. Jumping from one home to another without warning will be jarring to your elderly loved one, which may result in behavioral issues. Try to make this process as gradual as possible by moving things in slowly, or having your loved one sleep at their new location periodically.
  • Observe. Following the transition, keep a close eye on your loved one. Watch out for changes in their mood and behavior and do what you can to help lessen any growing pains.

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What are some questions I should ask myself about the disease?

Researching treatment options and even just general information about dementia and Alzheimer’s can be a daunting undertaking. Start with these questions and begin your research journey.

  • What are the most important questions about the disease I need answered right now?
  • How much information can I handle at once?
  • What resources are available to help me learn about my/my loved one’s diagnosis?
  • Are there community resources available to me?

Partnering with a quality home care agency

With all the challenges and intricacies that come with supporting someone with dementia, home care is crucial. For 30 years, Home Care Powered by AUAF has assisted seniors and their families in the greater Chicago area. Our experienced caregivers understand that each client is different and requires unique support. They provide tailored care to ensure you and your loved one are comfortable and happy.

If you’re curious about how home care could improve your loved one’s quality of life, give us a call at (773) 274-9262. We can also help you receive compensation for the care you already provide through our family caregiver program.

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