June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. The focus for this month is on supporting those living with Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia, recognizing their caregivers, and raising awareness within the community about both diseases. People living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia need a personalized care plan, adjusted accordingly as their needs change. Before we dive into why personalized care is so important, let’s look at some crucial facts, statistics, and definitions for Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Alzheimer’s Facts: (www.alz.org)
- 5.8 million people live with Alzheimer’s (by 2050, the projection jumps to 14 million).
- Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
- Alzheimer’s is the 5th leading cause of death of those 65 years and older.
- 5.6 million of those suffering from Alzheimer’s are over the age of 65.
- Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of disability and poor health.
- 1 in 3 seniors will die as a result of Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia.
- Every 65 seconds someone develops the disease.
- Only 16% of the senior population receives regular cognitive exams.
- No cure or prevention is known for either disease.
What is Alzheimer’s/Dementia?
Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect thinking and memory. Many different kinds of dementia exist, including:
- Lewy Body
- Mixed Dementia
Alzheimer’s is the continuous deterioration of neurons in the brain. Both Alzheimer’s and Dementia can begin slowly, then cause a rapid decline. One of the first signs of Alzheimer’s is when someone begins forgetting small things. Eventually, more telling signs start to occur:
- Have trouble finding the right words.
- Mood swings.
- Disorientation and wandering.
- Lack of self-care.
- Behavioral issues.
Note: If someone has Alzheimer’s, they have Dementia. If someone has Dementia, they may not have Alzheimer’s.
"Good points, James! It is very powerful to see those statistics in bullet form. At Commonwise, the Care Management team sees these issues everyday. It is hard to believe, but the chance of developing a cognitive impairment doubles every five years, starting at age 60. For that reason, we encourage our clients and their adult children to make plans for aging early and reiterate them often."
The Importance of Personalized Care
Providing personalized care to someone with an Alzheimer’s or Dementia diagnosis is not only beneficial, but critical. While no one knows your loved one like you do, the staff providing care can get to know them; and vice versa. Intentionally investing in each client allows caregivers to create a personalized plan to better care for them.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia can change over time, meaning caregivers must be constantly aware and adjust as needed. Whether the care plan calls for 24-hour care, or just a few hours a week, qualified staff are there to help. You can be sure your loved one is receiving exactly what they need during each stage of the disease process.
No matter where your loved one is on their journey, safety is always our main concern. Wandering, getting lost, forgetting to take medications, taking the wrong medications, leaving the stove on, and forgetting to clean up a spill are just a few of the dangers that can be found around the house.
A professional caregiver can assist in removing these hazards, making sure the house is as safe as possible.
Small tasks become difficult and even hazardous as the disease progresses. Quite often, a person with Alzheimer’s/Dementia can forget to prepare a meal, or even eat. A professional caregiver can take that stress away by preparing each meal for your loved one.
Additionally, professional caregivers work directly with physicians ensuring your loved one is getting the right amount of nutrients to meet their personal needs.
Various Everyday Tasks
Personal hygiene, transportation, laundry, etc. Tasks that once were easy become a challenge for those suffering from Alzheimer’s/Dementia.
Professional caregivers make sure your loved one gets to and from doctor’s appointments safely and has an advocate present. Even simple things, such as getting regularly bathed and dressed in clean clothes, are what professional caregivers are there for. Whatever is needed on a daily basis to keep your loved one happy and healthy is our job.
Every person is unique, which is why a personalized care plan is essential for those with Alzheimer’s/Dementia. Whether your loved one needs 24-hour, live-in care, or just a few hours of help per week, Commonwise is here to offer professional, individualized care.
Call 434.202.8565 to find out more about how Commonwise can put together a personalized care plan for your loved one today.