Having an elderly parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s can be extremely difficult for you and everyone involved. Even if your aging parent is doing fine right now, the chance of them having cognitive disabilities continues to increase as they grow older.
Roughly 64% of people 65 years and older currently residing in nursing homes have Alzheimer’s disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. And sadly, Alzheimer’s disease is the only number 10 cause of death that cannot be prevented, slowed, or cured.
There is, however, a chance that detecting this disease will become easier and faster.
According to Science Daily, the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville released a study showing that cognitively normal people who have a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s have a hard time distinguishing among unique graphic figures called Greebles, compared to individuals that do not have a genetic predisposition to the disease.
The ability to detect the disease at an earlier stage may allow researchers to develop potential treatments that can combat the disease.
“Right now, by the time we can detect the disease, it would be very difficult to restore function because so much damage has been done to the brain,” said Emily Mason, Ph.D., and postdoctoral associate at the University of Louisville. “We want to be able to look at really early, really subtle changes that are going on in the brain. One way we can do that is with cognitive testing that is directed at a very specific area of the brain.”
Mason added that further research will be needed to determine whether or not certain groups of people have a higher chance of contracting the disease.
“The best thing we could do is have people take this test in their 40s and 50s, and track them for the next 10 or 20 years to see who eventually develops the disease and who doesn’t,” said Mason.
There is still so much unknown when it comes to Alzheimer’s and researchers will continue to search for potential cures.
In the meantime, quality nursing homes can be wonderful places for any elderly individual struggling with Alzheimer’s. There are currently 15,655 skilled nursing care centers in the United States. The staff at these assisted living facilities can provide helpful memory care for your loved one who might be struggling with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of nursing homes or how to properly care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, contact Vista Del Lago today.