What is Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's is a neurological condition that affects the brain wherein the brain cell connections degenerate and die. A person suffering from Alzheimer's shows some symptoms like affected memory, thinking, reasoning, lack of problem-solving skills, and trouble in communication. As a result, their day to day lifestyle is affected.
Psychologist Shipra Lamba says "Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can start to appear before or after mid-sixties, and the risk increases with age. It is less common in younger people."
Causes of Alzheimer's
Ms Lamba shared that the exact causes of Alzheimer's are yet not clear but the understanding is that it is caused by an abnormal build-up of proteins in and around the brain cells.
Many researchers believe that Alzheimer's disease is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that influences the brain over time.
Some of the risk factors causing Alzheimer's can be age, family history, genetics, down syndrome, gender, excessive alcohol consumption, disrupted sleep patterns, unhealthy lifestyle, poor heart condition, unhealthy diet, stress, cognitive impairment, head injury, and pollution.
If someone near you or your loved one is showing the above-mentioned symptoms or suffering from Alzheimer then here is a little guide for you all to know on how to detect such conditions and what are your roles from well-known psychologist Shipra Lamba.
How to detect:
Ms Lamba mentioned "there is no single test to determine if someone is suffering from Alzheimer's disease but the diagnosis includes an extensive collection of information." Information such as a patient's medical history or characteristic changes in thinking and reasoning, changes in everyday functioning and behaviour are also noticed properly to check any change.
Alzheimer's can manifest with a wide variety of symptoms but the most common are memory loss and confusion. Check out the below mentioned some of the visual triggers to recognize if someone known to us may be suffering from Alzheimer's disease:
People can have trouble remembering familiar places, people, and events.
Most of the time you find them wandering.
They might misplace things.
They can also have trouble handling their money.
They can also face difficulty in completing and planning daily tasks at home or work.
One can also withdraw from social activities. Agitation and irritability.
They can also show changes in their mood and behaviour or personality.
Communication issues are another visual symptom.
Changes in sleep patterns, such as increased daytime sleep.
Role of caretaker and family member: \
Caring for an individual with Alzheimer's disease can be a challenging task with new responsibilities every day:
A caregiver needs to become familiar and should cope well with the changing levels of abilities and new patterns of behaviour of their loved one.
As the disease progresses, more intensive care is needed. Ms Lamba says "there is no fixed cure yet but medical management can improve the quality of life of a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease and their caretakers."
The other ways caregivers can help the person suffering from Alzheimer's should include educating themselves, being patient, engaging the patient in activities, talking, helping in setting a routine of physical activities and other activities which the person likes, providing a healthy diet, etc.
Little actions such as reading them a book, going out in nature, music, talking to them can ease the suffering.
Your optimistic approach can result in effective outcomes. Therefore it is important to maintain understanding between you and the patient.