A progressive neurodegenerative condition, Alzheimer's disease (also known as Alzheimer's) is the most common form of dementia. And the fact that it accounts for up to 80% of dementia cases lends credibility to this statement.
According to a 2013 study, approximately 6.8 million people were struggling with dementia in the US. And what's interesting here is, over 5 million out of them were struggling with Alzheimer's disease.
One of the leading causes of cognitive problems among people above 60, Alzheimer's is characterized by symptoms like memory loss, inability to take in new information, compulsive and obsessive behavior, mood swings, lack of interest in activities that one used to love earlier, and lack of motivation, etc.
It's a condition that occurs due to the death of brain cells that affects the smooth functioning of the brain, which eventually affects memory and leads to cognitive decline.
The symptoms of this condition start worsening gradually. In the initial stage when the symptoms are very mild, it's hard to identify that a person is struggling with Alzheimer's. However, when they become more severe, they start reflecting through the behavior of the person in question.
So, if you think that your aging parent is behaving a bit different from the last couple of months, but you are not aware of what exactly they are going through, here are the signs that can help you identify that they might be struggling with Alzheimer's.
- Unable to remember important events
- Asking the same question over and over again
- Forgetting familiar routes, thereby facing difficulty in reaching a destination on time
- Losing track of their belongings
- Problem managing finances
- Inability to plan complex activities
- Problem making decisions
- Unable to understand what's safe and what's unsafe for them
Now let's take a detailed look at the behavioral changes in Alzheimer's patients.
You will find that people with Alzheimer's struggle a lot with out-of-character mood swings. If your loved one gets too excited, anxious, and irritated even on simple things, it means they are facing some people, and you need to help them in every way possible.
Lack of Interest
If your aging parent has stopped enjoying the things they used to love earlier, it's an indication that something is wrong with them. Having a lack of interest in an activity, not only prevents them from carrying out that particular task with enthusiasm but they start thinking of it as a burden, which affects them tremendously when they have to do it without their wish.
Social withdrawal is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer's. So, if your loved one has started avoiding people and social activities that they used to enjoy a lot earlier, then they need your help.
Compulsive & Social Unacceptable Behavior
If your loved one is doing something repetitively, even when that particular act doesn't provide any reward, it means, they have some problem, and you need to help them find a solution for it.
Similarly, if your loved one often indulges in socially unacceptable behavior, it's your responsibility to help them out, especially if you know that they are not doing it willfully but it's the result of their problem.
Here is how to help a loved one with Alzheimer's.
Book In-Home Care Services
One of the best ways to care for a loved one who is struggling with Alzheimer's is to book in-home care services. Good in-home care agencies provide customized services to meet their client's specific needs.
For example, you can book an Alzheimer's and dementia specialist, who can take care of your aging parent effectively.
Similarly, you can also book an in-home caregiver, who can help your loved one with the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene. Apart from that, if you want an in-home caregiver to help your parent with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and light housekeeping, etc., they will do that as well.
Keep Things Simple
As a family member, you should try to keep things simple for your aging parent. For example, if they have difficulty finding their belongings such as specs that they use daily, you should make an effort to put them at accessible places.
If your loved one starts shouting at you, please be patient, and behave with them properly as they are not doing it intentionally. You need to remind yourself continually that your aging parent is struggling with a severe problem; it will help you avoid arguments with them.
Lastly, try to do things that they enjoy rather than asking them to change.
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