Alzheimer’s is one of the most well-known aging diseases in the United States and the amount of seniors with alzheimer's continues to rise. Despite how notorious it is, there is not a lot that is understood about the disease.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a blanket term to refer to a group of symptoms that affect memory and cognitive functioning. Alzheimer’s and dementia causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a degenerative disease, meaning that the symptoms are slow to develop and get worse over time. Eventually, when the situation gets severe enough, it can interfere with daily tasks.
As mentioned before, little is understood about the disease. The causes of the disease are mostly speculation and there is currently no cure, only things that you can do to alleviate symptoms associated with the disease.
When a family member has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it can cause many problems. Safety becomes a priority when your loved one deals with these types of issues as they generally cause memory loss and impaired judgment. Luckily, with advancements in technology, safety has been made easier.
Seniors With Alzheimer’s and Technology
There are a number of different types of devices that can help to not only improve your loved one’s situation when suffering from Alzheimer’s but also keep them safe.
- Automatic Lights — Lighting is incredibly important when it comes to helping keep someone with Alzheimer’s, and seniors in general, safe. They can help to prevent falls and trips, something that many seniors suffer from each year.
- Special Plugs — Special plugs are available to help prevent flooding. It allows users to choose a certain water depth in the sink or bath. If the water goes over this point, it will automatically drain. This can come in handy for seniors with dementia that are forgetful and don’t remember to turn off the sink.
- GPS Tracking — For seniors with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, wandering can become a major issue. It is important to protect the physical safety and some GPS tracking devices can help prevent seniors from getting lost. One specific example of this is Smart Sole, a cellular technology that can track seniors with a device that they install in the insole of a shoe.
- Automatic Stove Turn-Off — Along with keeping the water on, another worry for seniors with Alzheimer’s includes cooking on the stove top. If it is left on or unattended it can lead to a kitchen fire and cause major, life-threatening problems. However, there are a number of automatic stove turn-off devices that you can get for your loved one.
- Medication Dispensers — When it comes to taking medication, it is, obviously, best to follow prescription guidelines to a tee. If not, it can lead to dangerous side effects and even addiction in some cases. With that said, Alzheimer’s and dementia can interfere with a person's ability to accurately take their medicine. Luckily, medication dispenser can be bought that will unlock the correct dosage at the necessary time.
Along with these strategies that you can employ to improve your loved one’s situation and reduce the risk of harmful behavior, there are also options that you can take advantage of to alleviate some of the symptoms that dementia may be causing.
As mentioned before, there is not currently a cure available to get rid of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. With that said, there are medications and therapies that you can implement to help attack and minimize some of the symptoms that your loved one may be facing.
Dementia is diagnosed using a number of cognitive and neuropsychological tests that measure thinking skills, memory, orientation, judgment, language skills, and more. Brain scans will also be used to look for evidence of strokes, bleeding, tumors, and brain activity patterns.
Once diagnosed, patients can be given certain medications that can help manage symptoms. Some medications include:
Cholinesterase Inhibitors — These medications work by boosting levels of brain chemical messengers that involve memory and judgment. Although these are primarily used to treat Alzheimer’s, it can also help with other types of dementia such as vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Lewy body dementia. Side effects of this medication can cause nausea, vomiting, slowed heart rate, and fainting.
Memantine — This type of medication works by regulating chemical messengers that are involved in brain functioning such as learning and memory. It is often co-prescribed with a cholinesterase inhibitor.
Doctors may prescribe other medications that can target other symptoms and conditions such as depression, sleep disturbances, hallucinations, agitation, and more.
There are many therapy and lifestyle options and changes that can be used to treat dementia symptoms and similar behavioral problems. Some of these include:
Occupational Therapy — Getting an occupational therapist to show you how to make your loved one’s home safer and teach behaviors to help with coping behaviors. The purpose is to prevent accidents, such as falls.
Changing The Environment — Reducing clutter and noise can make it easier for someone with dementia to focus. You may also need to hide some objects that can threaten the safety of your loved one, such as knives.
While treatment can help, for many the problem can become too severe and can impede a senior’s ability to live independently.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are one of the most common diseases among older individuals in the country. It affects behavior and memory issues and can be quite serious. It is a debilitating and degenerative disease in which the symptoms become more severe over time. As we know, there is no cure for these issues. With that said, there are some safety technologies that can help improve the safety of seniors with alzheimer's.
Alzheimer’s can eventually become so severe and can impact a person so harshly that living independently becomes impossible. When this is the case, you can reach out to an assisted living facility, like Landmark Senior Living for help. If you are interested in learning more about what assisted living communities in Fall River can do to help, you can visit our website.