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Alzheimer's disease and steps to live with the condition

Alzheimer's disease is a neurological disorder which kills brain cells, causing memory loss and cognitive decline. The condition may be mild at first, but unfortunately, if you or someone you love has a neurodegenerative type of dementia, you can expect the condition to get progressively worse.


What can you expect with Alzheimer’s disease?


 

Changes in the brain can lead to mental confusion. In fact, experts estimate that some 4.7 million people of 65 years of age and older are currently living with Alzheimer's disease in the United States. And Alzheimer's may account for between 60% and 80% of all cases of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease can cause a variety of symptoms, including the inability to remember certain types of information, leading to repetitive conversations, questions, confusion and forgetfulness. Other individuals may have difficulty reasoning, completing complex tasks, and making good choices. Others may have difficulty recognizing faces or common objects or finding objects in direct view, or completing certain tasks, such as clothing their body. Finally, other individuals may have difficulty speaking, reading and writing.

What can I do to live Alzheimer’s disease?


 

There's a lot you can do to help someone with Alzheimer's enjoy their day-to-day activities. Even though people with Alzheimer's may get frustrated or confused easily, if you are someone you love has Alzheimer’s disease there are several important steps you can take to help cope with the condition.

1. Make sure to maintain a familiar routine

The first step is to maintain a familiar routine, schedule and living environment. Because change can be confusing and upsetting, it’s important that an Alzheimer patient feels secure that their living environment will be safe.

Experts also suggest leaving written instructions in the home such as a calendar and reminder notes. Linda Davis, PhD, RN., an expert in treatment for Alzheimer patients, suggests that notes are helpful, she says people with Alzheimer's can often understand what they read when they can't understand spoken words, and notes can help keep their surroundings feeling familiar and comfortable.

2. Control their environment

Next, because an Alzheimer patient can become easily overwhelmed with too much noise, excitement or excessive crowds, it’s a good idea to keep their environment calm. For example, experts suggest avoiding crowds in the mall by shopping at smaller stores, avoiding large parties by meeting with smaller groups to socialize, and turning off the television and enjoying one activity at a time.

3. Find ways to include them in activities

Keeping an Alzheimer patient involved with fun and familiar tasks may be critical to their happiness and feeling of productiveness, but trying to get them to do things they are unable to safely do may overwhelm them and may be counterproductive.

Think about your friend or family member. What do they love to do? Was your father a carpenter? While he may not be able to do some of the more complicated tasks of carpentry, he may love grabbing the sander and sanding a block of wood. Be creative and patient and you can help your relative live an abundant life.
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