Sep 21, 2017 by Kristina Butler
September is World Alzheimer's Month and September 21st is World Alzheimer's Day. This year, the theme of the month is "Remember Me". During World Alzheimer's Month, people are urged to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's, get the facts about the disease and its progression, and consider ways that they can help, especially when it comes to spreading the word about early detection and diagnosis.
The primary signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease revolve around a loss of memory and cognitive functioning. As the disease progresses, confusion and behavioral changes also impact the senior. In the mid to late stages of Alzheimer's, seniors will be unable to take care of themselves and will require the assistance of a home health aide if they want to safely remain in their own home.
By identifying the signs and symptoms of the disease and getting an early diagnosis, seniors are able to prepare for the long road of memory loss and functional decline. In addition to preparing the necessary medical and financial paperwork, they can also decide where they are going to live and arrange for home health aide support.
Early detection also helps family members prepare for a senior's inevitable transition into required care and the behavioral changes that comes with the disease. For example, nearly a quarter of seniors with Alzheimer's disease will have increased anxiety, confusion, and agitation later in the day. Since these changes occur as the sun is setting, the condition is known as "sundowning." Being aware of sundowning before it happens gives family members a chance to prepare mentally while putting routines in place that may limit sundowning occurrences and severity.
In short, World Alzheimer's Month is the perfect time to take an extra close look at your senior loved one and make sure they are living life to the fullest. If they show signs of cognitive decline, it does not mean they have dementia or Alzheimer's disease, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if they do not have dementia, you may find that they would benefit from the support of a home health aide to maximize their safety, independence, and quality of life.
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