- Early Onset Alzheimers Disease: The Beginning Stages of Alzheimer Disease
Early Onset Alzheimers Disease: The Beginning Stages of Alzheimer Disease
When someone close to you has been diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease one of the first things that you should do is explore any treatment options. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer Disease but there are medications available that will help some patients cope with the symptoms.
You’ll want to discuss the pros and cons of these medications with the patient’s doctor so that you can weigh the benefits and risks.
The Alzheimer Society will also have information for you that is current and up to date. Keep in mind that there are often drug trials that the patient can participate in depending on what researchers are looking for and what stage of the disease the person is at. If the patient chooses to take part in any clinical trials you may need to offer your help.
As a caregiver you need to recognize that you’ll be going through many feelings and emotions, especially if the patient is a close family member. Some of the emotions that you’ll be experiencing include embarrassment, anger, frustration, fear, denial, guilt, and sadness.
These are all normal emotions that are very common in caregivers
There are some days where you’ll feel more emotions than other days. The most important thing to remember is that you be gentle with yourself. If you find yourself falling into a deep depression that won’t lift you’ll need to see your own doctor. You need to be in good emotional shape if you’re going to be any good to your Alzheimer patient.
It’s important that you support the Alzheimer patient in making plans for the future. Some of the decisions about the future that will have to be made by. And for the patient include both personal and work related issues.
Try to keep the patient as involved in the decision process as possible so that they don’t become frightened by the changes around them. There will be some paperwork that you need to get in order that. May need to be signed by the patient; try to attend to this paperwork during the early stages of the disease. So that the patient retains control of many of the decisions that will affect them.
Another thing that should be discussed and taken care of when Alzheimer Disease is first diagnosed is decisions about finances and health care. The patient should write down their wishes when it comes to certain aspects of the future such legal issues and estate planning. There should also be a backup plan in place if, at some time in the future. You are unable to continue as the primary caregiver.
Keeping the Patient Warm
As we get older there are many things that it becomes more difficult for our bodies to do. Keeping warm is one of those things. As we age the temperature of our bodies drop, leaving us more at risk for heart attack, stroke, and breathing difficulties. To live a healthy lifestyle in your older years it’s important that you stay warm and comfortable.
Those patients who are suffering from early onset alzheimers disease will find it even more difficult to stay warm since. They often won’t be able to let their caregivers know that they are cold. If you are a caregiver of an Alzheimer patient there are some things that you can do to ensure that your patient is warm enough.
Try to keep the temperature of the room at about 70 degrees. This is particularly true for the bedroom area.
Make sure that the temperature remains consistent at night so there is little fluctuation of the comfort level. If the room is too cold you might want to put a hot water bottle into bed with your patient so that there is warmth under the covers.
Avoid the use of electric blankets since there is always the danger of electrocution if you’re not constantly keeping watch. During the winter months keep the windows closed to avoid a chill and wind draft.
Make sure that the Alzheimer patient eats healthy since a well balanced diet can aid in keeping the body at an even temperature. During the winter, try to include at least one hot meal every day.
Alzheimer patients, when left to dress themselves, will often dress in several layers of clothing. As a caregiver make sure that you dress your patient with care and attention to the temperature of the room or the outdoors.
You might want to consider bed socks if you find that your patient’s feet are too cold during the night. Keep a house coat and slippers by the bed for night time trips to the bathroom.
Regular exercise of some kind will help to regulate the body temperature of an Alzheimer patient. Keep in mind that people with early onset alzheimers disease will be less active than other people and so you’ll have to encourage some sort of activity even if it just a short walk outside. Try not to let your patient sit for long periods of time.
Keeping an Alzheimer patient warm is important so that (1) they are kept as comfortable as possible, and (2) because they often can’t express to you how cold they are.
Understanding the Stages of Alzheimer Disease
As a caregiver the more that you understand about the stages of Alzheimer Disease the better care you can provide for your patient or family member. During the early stages of early onset alzheimers disease most people will be able to lead lives that are productive and full.
As the disease progresses from one stage to another more symptoms will start to become evident to the patient and to those people around the patient. These changes can not be controlled by the patient or by you, the caregiver.
Damage has been done to the brain which can’t be reversed or repaired. Over an undetermined period of time the patient’s dementia will become worse and this means that you’ll have to adapt the care that you provide to each changing condition. Every Alzheimer patient will experience different symptoms during the different stages of the disease.
Alzheimer Disease will typically affect adults
Who are over the age of sixty although there are many instances where younger people have been affected. There are four stages of the disease: the first stage, the middle stage, the later stage, and the final stage.
During the first stage of Alzheimer Disease the symptoms will be mild and often difficult to detect. Some of the typical things to look for include disorientation, forgetfulness, and mood changes that are unexplained. Some people will lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed and they may start so spend more time on their own.
During the middle stage of Alzheimer Disease there will be more incidences of memory problems. Some people will start to show some difficulty with their language skills. Making decisions will become difficult, in particular decisions that require logic. Sleep problems may also start to appear, with the patient sleeping less and less hours. Most patients will require 24 hour supervision so that they don’t wander off and get lost.
The later stage of Alzheimer Disease will show an increasing severity in the above symptoms. Patients often start to confuse the present with the past. They may forget the names and faces of the people closest to them. This memory loss extends to places and events.
Patients in this stage of the disease will be totally dependent on you as their caregiver and will need help with even the most routine of activities. Many patients will be confined to their bed and will stop talking altogether because they no longer have language skills.
The final stages of Alzheimer Disease can be very devastating. Other medical conditions can set in, which can make early onset alzheimers disease even more difficult to manage. The final stage of this disease often results in the death of the patient.
Alzheimer Disease and the Caregiver
Being a caregiver can takes its toll on you as an individual. Caregivers are often in a high risk category when it comes to developing problems that are both emotional and physical. You need to be aware of these risks. So that you can take the steps that are necessary to take care of yourself.
After all, if you’re experiencing your own problems. How can you be a good caregiver to someone who is counting on you? Take the time to maintain your own health by eating well and making time in your schedule to exercise. Don’t give up the activities that you enjoy doing because you don’t think that you have time for them. Caring for someone doesn’t mean that you have to give up the quality of your own life at the same time.
Look for the help that you need so that you can be a good caregiver. There are many community resources and services for caregivers that you can rely on to give you updated information and support. Some of these services will include help with household tasks as well as with the job of caring for an Alzheimer patient.
Build up a network of family
And friends who can be there to help you out when you need it. Take a moment to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are in your role as a caregiver.
Then make a list of people who you can count on to help you in certain situations so that you have a backup team in place. Learn how the community resources in your area operate so that you access them when you need them.
You also need to have a support network for your emotions and feelings. You need to have some place where you can talk about your anger, fears, frustrations, and other emotions. This network of support can consist of your family, friends, or other members of a support group.
There are support groups around the country that have been created specifically for caregivers of Alzheimer patients. Don’t become isolated and lonely when you become weighed down with the emotions of being a caregiver.
The Alzheimer Society is there for you to access at any time. The Society is available for a large variety of support issues including
(1) providing you with information about the disease,
(2) providing you with information to be a caregiver,
(3) strategies for coping,
(4) providing support over the phone or in a support group, and
(5) helping you find other caregiver services in the area where you live.