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What is Alzheimer's to me?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. As advocates for dementia care, Argo believes that knowledge is the key to empowering families facing this challenging condition. Let's delve into the world of Alzheimer's and unravel some of the mysteries of this debilitating disease together.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-80% of cases. It is a neurodegenerative disorder, a misfire in how the mind and brain functions. You will see a gradual decline of cognitive function in those living with Alzheimer's memory loss and may see behavioural changes, and difficulties with daily activities. The disease typically progresses over time, making early detection and intervention crucial. So if you are worried that someone you love is showing symptoms get them checked out. It may not be Alzheimer's but something simple like a UTI.

The exact cause of Alzheimer's remains unknown. If you speak to researchers like Alzheimer's Research UK they will tell you that a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors may contribute to its development. Age is the greatest risk factor, with most cases occurring in individuals over 65 years old. Other factors such as family history, certain gene variations, cardiovascular conditions, and head injuries may also increase the risk.

So what are the symptoms?

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's is essential for early diagnosis and effective management. You might see

  1. Memory loss: Difficulty remembering recently learned information, names, or events.

  2. Disorientation: Getting lost in familiar places, difficulty with spatial awareness.

  3. Challenges in problem-solving: Difficulty with planning, organizing, and completing tasks.

  4. Language problems: Struggling with finding the right words, following conversations.

  5. Changes in mood and behaviour: Depression, anxiety, irritability, and personality changes.

  6. Withdrawal from social activities: Losing interest in hobbies or avoiding social interactions.

  7. Poor judgment and decision-making: Making uncharacteristic financial or personal choices.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Diagnosing Alzheimer's involves a comprehensive investigation into medical history, with physical and neurological examinations, cognitive tests, and brain imaging. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, various treatment options can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These may include medication to temporarily alleviate cognitive decline, changing things in your daily life to help you to remember, stimulation and exercise and making sure your support network is in place.

Don't forget the carers:

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's can be emotionally and physically challenging. If you care for someone It's crucial to prioritize self-care and seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, and family members. You need to have a support network as a carer as much as the individual living with Alzheimer's. Developing a structured routine, ensuring safety measures, and engaging in stimulating activities can help maintain cognitive function and enhance the overall well-being of individuals with Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's is a complex disease that poses significant challenges for individuals and their families. By understanding its causes, recognizing early warning signs, and accessing appropriate care and support, we can improve the lives of those affected. Our team at Argo understand this and have tailored our services to support families who live with Alzheimer's. Living with Alzheimer's is a team activity and like any team activity we have to make sure that all team members are healthy and well. This is how we provide our advice and support. We will not leave you after we have had an initial conversation. We will be there with you, on your journey, holding your hand throughout whether we are helping you prepare your will, supporting you with a care assessment or just being on the end of the phone if you are having a tough day. Argo is part of your team! Please give us a call on 01622 843729 if you want to see how we can help you further.

Scan of brain for brain damage
Scanning brain for damage

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