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June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.  Worldwide over 50 million people are living with dementia. By the year 2050, this number is expected to triple.

Dementia is actually a group of symptoms, not a specific disease. It is characterized by loss of memory, thinking and reasoning. There are multiple diseases that cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, vascular disorders, traumatic brain injuries and infections. 

If you have a loved one experiencing some symptoms of dementia, it’s important to get an early medical diagnosis for accurate treatment and planning for future care needs.

 

Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is the most prominent cause of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is a slow-progressive brain disease that begins before any symptoms become apparent. It is characterized by loss of memory, apathy, impaired communication and lack of judgment. Visual disturbances often promote disorientation and confusion.

 

Vascular Dementia 

Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia. This disease occurs when parts of the brain have restricted blood flow, causing a decrease in oxygen and important nutrients. Though a stroke is often the main precursor to vascular dementia, not all people who have had a stroke will develop this disease. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Impaired judgment and inability to make decisions are the first symptoms associated with this disease.

 

Parkinson’s

This progressive disease is largely associated with loss of mobility, including tremors, rigidity, lack of facial expression, slowness of movement, loss of balance and sleep disorders.  This is due to destruction of brain cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine.  Dementia will occur, sometimes in gradual stages, in about 20% of Parkinson’s cases.

 

Caregiving Challenges

If you are a family caregiver with a loved one who has been diagnosed with a disease associated with dementia, joining a support group is one way to access information and learn what has worked in similar situations. 

This may be the best time to consider starting in-home care with a carefully matched, heart-centered professional caregiver from Home Helpers.  Caregivers can come from a few days each week up to 24-hours. They will not only help your loved one with all their needed personal care but also provide companionship to help combat the depression that often accompanies dementia.    

The continuity live-in care provides may be a good option to consider as dementia progresses.  Only two caregivers are involved, and the warm emotional bonds formed with a carefully selected caregiver can truly help your loved one thrive. With no shift changes during a day, this reliability and constancy can be very calming.  

There are many additional advantages to live-in care.  Cost savings can be considerable, as live-in care has a daily versus hourly fee.  A caregiver needs five hours of uninterrupted sleep and eight hours total sleep for a good night’s rest. You get the security of 24-hour assistance but don’t pay for caregiver sleep time. Your older loved one stays in their home with the familiar surroundings they prefer and the privacy and independence they desire.

 

We know that despite the passing years, each of our clients has a youthful spirit.  Engaging that lets us share in the richness of their lives, both past and present. For a free in-home consultation to determine the care that is right for you, contact Home Helpers of Alpharetta today at (678) 430-8511.

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