Out of the top 10 causes of death in the United States, Alzheimers is the only disease that cannot be cured, slowed, or even prevented. This tragic illness is responsible for not only a great number of deaths but tragic human suffering in both the afflicted and the family.
What is Alzheimers?
This disease is the most widespread form of dementia, and it affects mental processes like cognition, memory, and emotions. There are three main stages that individuals with Alzheimers will go through.
Mild: This stage represents the warning signs and very beginning of the disease’s progression. Many people still work, play, and drive around at this stage, but some symptoms start to appear. The memory loss at this stage is typically noticed by friends and family first and involves forgetfulness about where things are located or inability to find the words to describe something, even if they are simple. Planning and organizing can also become difficult.
Moderate: Alzheimers at this stage can last for quite a long time. More frequent memory loss is noticeable, gaps in personal history memories included. Moodiness and aggravation become common when the afflicted is having a hard time remembering something. Not knowing what day it is, or where they are, becomes a problem. Escalating risks associated with getting lost and confused, and experiencing more frequent delusions are prevalent. It is at this stage that families should begin discussing memory care centers and nursing homes as a long-term care solution.
Severe: The afflicted becomes incapable of describing the pain that they are feeling. The mind begins to shut down entirely and eventually loses control over the body. This is the stage that all patients will reach if they live long enough to see it.
Coping with Alzheimers, or indeed any form of dementia, is exceedingly hard on both the patient and the family. One of the best ways a family can help is by finding a memory care facility for their loved one to live in and seek treatment. Though science today has yet to discover a cure, great effort is being put forth by doctors worldwide. As new medicines and behavioral therapy come out, we hope to see an end to this tragic illness in the future.