Alzheimer’s Support – What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, a brain disorder that seriously affects a person’s ability to perform daily activities, and is most common among older people. The area of the brain that controls thought, memory, and language is affected by this condition. Alzheimer’s disease is named after the German doctor Alois Alzheimer. In the year 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. He found abnormal clumps, which are now called amyloid plaques, and tangled bundles of fibers, which are now called neurofibrillary tangles. Today, these are the signs of what is called AD (Alzheimer’s Disease).
Along with these plaques and tangled fibers, scientists have also discovered other areas of the brain that are affected. There is a loss of nerve cells within in the brain vital to memory and other mental abilities. The levels of chemicals that carry complex messages back and forth between the nerve cells are lower than those in a person who does not have AD. Therefore, AD may disrupt normal thinking and memory by blocking these messages between nerve cells.
Alzheimer’s Support – What are the Symptoms and Stages?
Normal aging can play tricks on diagnosing Alzheimer’s symptoms. Many people look healthy, but they are having trouble making sense of the world around them. Some of the Alzheimer’s symptoms are memory loss and changes in speech; confusion about the location of familiar places; taking longer to finish routine, daily tasks; difficulty with simple math problems and related issues like handling money, paying bills, or balancing a checkbook; poor judgment that leads to bad decisions; mood and personality changes; and increased anxiety.
As time goes on, the damaging process occurring in the brain worsens and spreads to other areas that control language, reasoning, sensory processing, and thought. The Alzheimer’s disease stages become more pronounced and behavioral problems can start to occur. In the last stage, damage to the brain’s nerve cells is widespread. Many times, the patient dies of other illnesses, such as pneumonia.
Alzheimer’s Support – How to Give Alzheimer’s Care?
If the patient is not cared for by a facility, the family member or caregiver assures that the patient is receiving the needed support. A person suffering from this disease needs plenty of time to organize his thoughts and put them together in order to communicate with his caretaker. Therefore, the caretaker must be patient, and not interrupt while waiting for a response or statement.
Sufferers also need familiarity and repetition in their daily lives. Because of the illness, they become confused and disoriented, so their belongings should always he placed in an easy-to-remember place. Along with that, there should be a daily schedule for the patient to follow.
In the final stages of Alzheimer’s, caretakers should make sure the patient is exposed to music. Studies have shown that music plays a very important part in the quality of their life. Music accesses various parts of the brain, and the combination of language and music, as in song, offers a greater chance of activating neurological pathways that are still in tact. Patients are able to retain musical perception, and they are likely to remember all the words to a song, although they cannot put a coherent sentence together.
Music is also a way to remind or introduce your loved-one to Jesus Christ. Playing loved hymns or singing favorite Christian songs with your Alzheimer’s victim can serve three purposes: helping them to trigger brain activity, comforting them by enjoying with them things they can still remember, and reminding them of their safety and security in Jesus. “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Jesus’ promises might seem distant during times of suffering, but He assures us that He is always here with us, through everything (Matthew 28:20).