Around the world, it is estimated that around 50 million people have dementia, and each year, approximately 10 million new cases are diagnosed. It is a serious problem that doesn’t have any easy solution. There is not a cure. However, some things can be done to make life easier for the patients and their family members. Getting the proper help from professionals is essential.
The Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
People will often use these two phrases interchangeably. Although there are similarities and overlaps, it is important to understand the differences that exist.
Dementia is a word that describes symptoms that are associated with declining memory, reasoning issues, and similar problems with thinking skills. Many different types of dementia can occur, and many conditions could cause it to occur. In some cases, a patient might have mixed dementia, which is when more than one type of dementia is occurring at the same time.
It is important to note that dementia is not a normal part of aging. It happens because there is damage to the brain cells and it causes cognitive problems related to thinking, as well as feelings and behavior.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. This is a degenerative brain disease, and it occurs when the brain changes after cell damage. It will lead to symptoms that will get worse over time. One of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s is having problems remembering new information. This is because the disease will often affect the area of the brain that is associated with learning.
Over time, the symptoms will get worse and more severe, not better. It becomes more difficult to do normal, daily activities. There will be confusion, changes in behavior, and disorientation. Eventually, it could cause problems with speaking, walking, and even swallowing. As of right now, there is no means of curing Alzheimer’s or even slowing it down. There is also no prevention.
Whether someone suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, they need to get the help that’s right for them. The amount and type of help that is needed can vary, of course.
When Should Someone with Dementia Consider Assisted Living Care?
Family members need to be proactive when they are determining whether a loved one should enter an assisted living facility. This is true whether they have dementia or not. Certain telltale signs could indicate it’s time to consider making a move.
If someone is having trouble with the normal activities of daily living, then it could be the right time to get into a facility. If they are having issues with mobility, dressing, bathing, feeding themselves, etc. it could be an indicator. This doesn’t mean that they have dementia, but it does mean that they need to have some help with their daily routine. Assisted care is a good option.
One of the biggest concerns is medication. Someone who has dementia could forget to take their medication. They might also forget that they have already taken their medication, which could mean they double their dose. This can present some serious dangers. Those seniors who have trouble with their meds should be in a facility that can help if their family is not able to handle it for them.
Plenty of other concerns exist, as well. Someone who has trouble with memory loss may forget to turn off the stove after cooking. They might forget to turn off the water in the bathroom. They could go for a walk and have trouble remembering where they live. Many potential issues can arise and that could be relieved by opting for an assisted care facility.
Although many families might want to provide their elderly loved ones with the help they need at home, it’s not always possible. They have to work, may have young children, and they have many other commitments already. Sometimes, assisted living care is the smarter solution. This is especially true for patients who are showing signs and symptoms of dementia.
Benefits of Assisted Living Care for Dementia Patients
Although the thought of moving into an assisted care facility can be frightening for many patients and their families, it doesn’t have to be. When choosing a high-quality facility with a great staff, it can provide a host of benefits.
For starters, residents and their loved ones will not have to worry about the same sorts of problems that were present before. They can get the help needed with their medication, the daily chores, laundry, meals, etc. They can get proper nutrition and they will be safe.
Another benefit is socialization. Facilities offering assisted living care will have have other patients who are around the same age. The community provides the patients with a chance to socialize with one another. This can help them to feel better about where they are. It gives them a chance to make some new friends. Many of the facilities will also offer other benefits including activities, events, and outings for the patients.
What About Hospice?
While assisted living is beneficial for patients who are relatively healthy except for their physical limitations or dementia, hospice care is a possibility, as well. Hospice is for patients that have six months or less to live. It is meant to provide patients with comfort and dignity in their final days. This type of care could be offered at an assisted living facility or at home, depending on the wants and needs of the patient and their family. It can provide help for those who are in their last months. Hospice care for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease who have terminal conditions can help to provide a more peaceful end.
Those who are looking for hospice or who are looking for an assisted living facility will want to make sure that they choose the right facility and professionals. Take the time to learn more about the various features available and be sure to look into the facility’s reputation.