Alzheimer’s disease or AD was first discovered in 1906 by a German doctor whose name was Dr.Alois Alzheimer. It is a degenerative brain disease. It is the most common form of dementia in the elderly. It affects the person’s ability to think, to store and make new memories. It also impairs other mental functions making simple tasks difficult or impossible to accomplish. AD is caused by death of brain cells and shrinking of the brain over a period of time.
A person above 60 years has a greater risk of developing this progressive disease than a younger person, and the risk of developing AD increases with age from there on. It is not a natural process of ageing and should not be confused with the natural tendencies of the elderly to forget little things.
In India, there are approximately 10 million people per year affected by AD. As of now, there is no cure for AD. However, medication may control the symptoms to a certain extent.
Although the initial symptoms of AD may vary from person to person and not all problems related to memory loss can be linked to AD, let’s look at some of the general symptoms a person with AD may have.
- Memory loss that affects their daily routine or forgetfulness of experiences in their recent past
- Unwarranted mood swings leading to changes in behaviour like sudden fear, anger, suspicion, violence etc.
- Inability to solve simple problems or puzzles.
- Disorientation or confusion with time, place, people, names etc. They may tend to wander off or get lost.
- Misplacing things
- Trouble reading and recognizing colours. They may have poor judgement in spatial relationships.
- Withdrawal from social activities.
- Increasing memory loss and confusion
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Inability to perform simple tasks eating and going to the bathroom
- Incoherent speech
- Lack of co-ordination of movements
During the final stages of AD, individuals may lose their ability to respond to the outside environment and they may need all the help they can get with their daily routine. They may also become vulnerable to infections.
Although there is no cure for AD, early detection is of the disease may be beneficial for the patient and his family. Given the fear and confusion created due onset of the disease, home-based nursing, home healthcare along with nursing, doctor visits, physiotherapy at home would be immensely helpful. Have a well-planned approach with a comprehensive care provider, will allow enough time to plan care options, finances and legal arrangements while the patient can still take decisions. This advance planning will help improve the quality of living of the patient.
We, at One Life have well experienced medical and nursing staff to educate and to care for people with chronic diseases such as AD. We device care plans based on the specific needs of our patients to ensure that the onset of the disease can be stopped and to ensure that the patient can manage his/her day to day activities and be independent as long as possible.