Alzheimer’s is a devastating cognitive disease that impacts families around the world. It takes a toll on everything from memory to language and coordination. Many in the Alzheimer’s community don’t have access to the help they need to live safe and healthy lives. At the end of October of 2023, President Biden declared November National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. As a specialized memory care provider, Inspired Living is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. What does National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month represent? What are the latest improvements in Alzheimer’s care? Read on to learn more about Alzheimer’s, treatment, and how Inspired Living can help.
What Is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of diagnosed dementia, affecting millions of American seniors. This disease is marked by cognitive loss that impacts:
- Learning skills
- Language centers
It can also have a secondary negative impact on physical health. Many seniors living with Alzheimer’s withdraw from life outside of their home. That can mean reduced movement, difficulty with important self-care, and social isolation. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month to honor all members of the Alzheimer’s community. That includes individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their family members and friends. It also includes professionals working in Alzheimer’s care.
Why National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month Matters
The medical community is working hard to find treatments and, someday, a cure for Alzheimer’s. The caregiving community is working hard to provide a better quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients. We’ve seen many breakthroughs, but not enough to curb this disease. Millions have lost their lives to Alzheimer’s and secondary conditions. Millions more are battling with this disease today. National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month asks us to remember those lives lost. It also asks us to support those living with Alzheimer’s today, as well as their caregivers. Finally, it reminds us to support the scientific community as they seek new and better treatments that can improve the outcome of all those living with Alzheimer’s.
What Interventions are Available to the Alzheimer’s Community?
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, there are treatments available. While there is no known cure, the dementia care community provides ways to slow the progression of the disease. Here are some of the interventions available to those with Alzheimer’s.
There are a few medications that Alzheimer’s patients can take. In mid-2023, the FDA granted approval for Leqembi. This medication is designed as an early intervention for individuals who are beginning to show signs of Alzheimer’s. Leqembi targets amyloid beta, the peptides that form the basis of amyloid plaque. Amyloid plaque forms in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, contributing to cognitive loss. Clinical trials found that Leqembi can slow the progression of early Alzheimer’s by over five months, each of which is precious to Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones.
Mental and Physical Activity
Mental and physical health are crucial for slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s. In fact, poor mental health is often a contributing factor to dementia. In assisted living, elderly residents are given more opportunities to exercise and socialize with the support of caregivers. Socialization can help to prevent depression and keep the brain active. Physical exercise can prevent secondary issues like bone density loss.
Alzheimer’s patients who don’t receive proper care may suffer from nutritional deficits. Cognitive loss can make it difficult to read and follow recipes or use kitchen tools and appliances. Some individuals may forget to eat or start eating low-nutrition foods that are easy to prepare. Early research shows that certain diets may slow moderate cases of Alzheimer’s. A well-balanced and flavorful diet can also improve quality of life and overall health. Residents in our dementia care community receive high-quality meals every day.
Currently, most Alzheimer’s interventions revolve around symptom management. In other words, the key is to prevent symptoms from getting worse while preventing confusion and upset as much as possible. Alzheimer’s patients benefit from having a reliable routine. The earlier in the disease progression that this routine is established, the better. Joining an assisted living community before memory loss is severe allows residents to adjust to their environment, neighbors, and caregivers with more ease.
Assistance with ADLs
All of us need to complete activities of daily living for our health and well-being. These activities include things like:
- Getting dressed
Professional caregivers are trained to provide ADL assistance. The key is to ensure that all of a resident’s needs are met. We also work hard to preserve each resident’s dignity and independence.
Signs Your Loved One Has Alzheimer’s
Dementia progresses in stages. As we’ve mentioned already, early intervention can make the biggest difference to patients with Alzheimer’s. Here are some early signs that your loved one may have Alzheimer’s.
Disruptive Memory Loss
Alzheimer’s patients have very notable memory loss. They often lose short-term memory first, repeating questions or struggling to keep new information straight. With time, they start to lose more foundational memories, such as the names of close friends.
Difficulty with Familiar Activities
Alzheimer’s patients struggle more and more with familiar activities. This can include things like:
- Directions to familiar places
- Cooking skills
- Speaking or writing
- Organization (e.g., list-making)
- Scheduling plans or appointments
- Regular chores
You may notice that activities that require sequential thoughts, in particular, become difficult.
Cognitive loss is both confusing and distressing for the person experiencing it. Some people may try to hide their cognitive loss or limit confusing stimuli by withdrawing. This can include social withdrawal, withdrawal into the home, or abandonment of favorite pastimes.
Join Inspired Living’s Memory Care Community
This National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, Inspired Living wants to remind you that we’re here to help. We provide tiered assisted living solutions to elderly residents in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. We take great pride in our specialized memory care program for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Is Inspired Living right for you or your loved one? Reach out to us today to learn more and schedule a tour of our community.