Dementia & Alzheimer's Care
More than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Since November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month, we thought it would be a good time to discuss the correlation between dementia and Alzheimer's disease. In this blog post, we also cover the signs and symptoms, provide a few basic caregiving tips, and highlight some of our most popular Alzheimer's care products.
What is the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia?
Many people think Alzheimer's disease and dementia are the same things, but there are differences:
Dementia is a group of symptoms characterized by memory loss and forgetfulness or impaired judgment and problem-solving skills that interfere with daily life. There are several types of dementia. Some can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes; others get progressively worse.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disease and the leading cause of dementia. It destroys the cells and cell connections in the brain, causing them to degenerate and die. There's no cure for Alzheimer's, but a combination of medication, personal care products, and care services can relieve uncomfortable symptoms and improve the quality of life.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer's and dementia?
Alzheimer's disease and dementia share many of the same symptoms, including memory loss, a decline in cognitive function, and difficulty communicating. Still, there are distinct differences. For example, symptoms unique to Alzheimer's include depression, apathy, distinct behavioral changes, and confusion. If your care recipient has dementia caused by Parkinson's or Huntington's disease, they might experience involuntary muscle spasms or limb movement. If they have vascular dementia, they might have trouble organizing their thoughts or staying focused.
Alzheimer's care tips for family caregivers:
If you provide personal care for someone with a neurodegenerative illness, these tips can make things easier:
1. Get educated
Providing care for someone with a neurodegenerative illness isn't easy. The more you know about the disease's progression and what to expect, the better you can meet your senior's needs. Our friends at The Alzheimer's Association have some excellent resources.
2. Establish a daily routine
As a dementia caregiver, it's important to establish a daily routine. When there's a structure in place that your loved one can rely on, they're less likely to become aggressive, agitated, or confused. Try scheduling doctor's visits and other appointments in the morning when your care recipient is well-rested and alert.
3. Encourage your care recipient to get involved
Your family member might have difficulty remembering things, but that doesn't mean they can't stay busy. Have them select an outfit they'd like to wear or let them choose between two activities, like working a jigsaw puzzle or going to the park. If they're able, you can even have them help you with small tasks, like taking out the trash or setting the table.
4. Build a support network
Providing Alzheimer's care is a selfless, but exhausting job. As the disease progresses, you may need to rely on outside support, like other family members, a home care service, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or a hospice. If you aren't interested in long-term care, respite care is worth considering. You can take some time off and recharge, while a team of professionals provides regular updates on your loved one's condition.
Are there any products that make providing Alzheimer's care any easier?
Yes. Here at Carewell, we carry dozens of products that make providing memory care easier, including:
See our full Dementia & Alzheimer's Care Collection here.
If you have questions or need help determining which care options best meet your senior's needs, contact our friendly Care Specialists by calling (855) 855-1666 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.