Most of us have come across Alzheimer’s patients in our lives, either within the family or someone we know otherwise. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 55 million people in the world live with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Based on updated calculations, 6.2 million Americans aged 65 years or older are living with Alzheimer’s.
Often known as a syndrome of chronic or progressive nature, Dementia causes the decline of cognitive functions of a human being beyond the consequences of biological ageing. The characteristic symptoms of dementia are loss of memory, language and other thinking skills that pose challenges in a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. There are many different forms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common one.
Alzheimer’s is a type of brain disease and it worsens with time. In a healthy adult brain, there are about 100 billion “neurons”, and each neuron has long, branching extensions. These extensions enable individual neurons to form connections to communicate with each other at junctions called “synapses” through chemical messengers or electrical signals. In the brain, there are a hundred trillion synapses. They allow signals to travel rapidly through the brain, and the information they carry helps to carry out body functions such as sensations, emotions, memories and movements.
Alzheimer’s is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative disorder that begins many years before symptoms emerge. Memory loss and language problems are associated with this disease because it damages the nerve cells (neurons) in parts of the brain involved in memory and thinking. Difficulty remembering recent conversations and names are often early symptoms. As the disease progresses, the neurons on various parts of the brain are damaged. For a normal person, every day activities such as walking and swallowing are enabled by the neurons in specific parts of the brain, which are damaged during the progression of Alzheimer’s. Later symptoms include confusion, anxiety, restlessness, sleeplessness, wandering, impaired communication, and behavioral changes.
The medicines prescribed for Alzheimer’s patients are used to control or reduce some symptoms, but none of the medications available at this time will cure Alzheimer’s completely. This is where the significance of good care and support comes in to improve the quality of life of individuals living with the disease. It includes understanding and managing their behavioral changes, engaging them in activities and stimulating conversations, and providing proper treatments for physical illness.
Best care should incorporate a healthy diet, regular exercise, and reduce the risk due to injuries. When you embed a familiar spot and routine, research proves this will reduce the rate at which Alzheimer’s progresses. Partaking in activities in which patients enjoy on the same time and same day of every week is a huge benefit to them.
Figuring out daily activities might be a small thing for us, but for people with disintegrated memories, this is a huge deal. Providing effective emotional care is a vital component in battling this disease, as a treatment with companionship, empathy and love will reduce the patient’s risk of anxiety, stress, and confusion. It will allow them to live in a pleasant environment with an enhanced sense of comfort and safety. Engaging them in regular physical activities, music and simple dance movements will help them to be socially active and improve their cognition skills.
Maintaining a good balance of an Alzheimer patient’s psychological and emotional state positively is often a challenge, but keeping their minds engaged is a critical factor to help such individuals enjoy periods of relative stability. Drug therapy is not as effective as the therapy that incorporates care and compassion for Alzheimer’s treatment. They are alive and only their memories are expelled! They deserve understanding and dignity…Love and Care will enlighten the lives with Alzheimer’s.