What books about caregiving should you read to make you a better caregiver?

Caregiving is not easy. It’s physically and mentally draining and can be a thankless career at times. 

Most of all, it can be a lonely path. 

It’s comforting to know that you are not alone on the journey. And you are not handling isolated cases. 

So today, I’m sharing some of the best books about caregiving to help you survive and thrive in these trying times. 

Let's start.

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss

Books about Caregiving - The 36 Hour Day

This is one of the best books about caregiving that doctors and healthcare providers recommend. 

It gives you an accurate image of what it is to take care of a patient with dementia. 

The authors explain the causes of dementia and symptoms to watch out for in its early stages. They also discuss the best ways to determine the best living care options suitable for patients. 

This book has also proven to be a must-have resource for new and experienced caregivers. 

The data presented in the book is well-organized and well-indexed and readers have shared how easy it is to find information as needed. 

It discusses information about caregiver tips and financial and legal advice. Difficult topics, such as strategies for coping with gradual loss, are also tackled. 

Most readers are sharing how many practical insights they’re getting. The conversations about internal and external changes in dementia patients give them a good idea of what to expect. 

One reader shared about their experience with food and nutrition. 

Apparently, her mother-in-law was chewing her food too long. And when she checked the book, it talked about how dementia patients need prompts to remind them what to do. 

Dementia patients can even forget to swallow. And since then, she started reminding her mother-in-law to swallow the food she’s been chewing. 

This is a must-have book about caregiving that you should add to your bedside or somewhere you can easily reach. 

Get a copy of The 36-Hour Day here.  

A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents — and Ourselves

Books about Caregiving - A Bitterweet Season

Jane Gross, New York Times eldercare expert, shares her stories of love and sacrifice she faced caring for her 85-year-old mother. 

What's great about this book is it brings a rare combination of a memoir and practical advice when caring for the elderly.

The author talks about her experience in taking care of her mother and how the family coped with her gradual decline. 

That’s why it’s one of the best book recommendations you can get as a caregiver. 

Many have regarded it as being relatable to their own experiences. And most readers say they feel less alone and more understood after reading the book.  

One reader talked about the dynamics of her relationship with family members. Like how they could be best friends one day, and worst enemies the next. 

Despite this, the book has helped them work together for the benefit of their aging parent. 

It’s as real as it gets. 

And what makes the book unique is its focus on assisted living facilities. She also recognizes her upper-middle-class status that enabled them to access more services and resources. 

Gross zooms in on how adult caregivers and families combine their efforts to ensure the best care for the elderly. 

She also discusses how primary caregivers can do self-care and keep their sanity throughout the experience. 

Most say it’s a moving book, but it also takes a look at the ugly truth about the healthcare system for the elderly. 

Gross talks about Medicare, Medicaid, and other medical information as they weave through their experience in hospitals and medical facilities. 

She also talks about common-sense advice, like staying out of the emergency room as much as possible. 

The book also talks about the burden and sacrifice of becoming a caregiver. It also talks about the pain of enduring gradual loss, and the death of their mother. 

It is both inspiring and cautionary for every adult who eventually needs to care for their aging parents. 

Get a copy of A Bittersweet Season here.

Who Cares? The Give and Take of Family Caregiving: Matters of Heart, Humor, and Reconciliation

Degenerative diseases are always difficult to manage. Often, families who get the diagnosis never know how to handle the news. 

And often it feels like a death sentence, especially if it’s cancer. That’s what happened to Jerry Bridge, author of Who Cares?. 

Between 2000 and 2013, Jerry lost not one but three members of the family to cancer. At the same time, his father fell into a deep depression and almost lost his life. 

Jerry served as the primary care provider of the family. And he suffered the devastating effects of caregiving. 

He felt alone, depressed, and exhausted. He even started questioning his life’s worth and purpose. 

Despite all things, Jerry found his way back to himself. And after some thorough work, he found renewal, reconciliation, and peace. 

Jerry turned his harrowing experience into an inspirational book full of practical insights, tips, and a splash of humor here and there. 

Who Cares? The Give and Take of Family Caregiving has been an inspirational book for caregivers for so long. 

It has helped caregivers become better at managing the unforeseen and devastating effects of caring for sick family members.

Get a copy of Who Cares? The Give and Take of Family Caregiving here.

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook 

Books about Caregiving - The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook

We all have different reasons for reading self-help workbooks. And this one is another recommendation for books about caregiving you should put on your list. 

It’s a how-to guide on relaxation and stress reduction. It covers a wide range of cultures and medical specialties.

At the start, there are many assessment activities to help you identify the type of stress you're dealing with.

There are also relaxation techniques that are effective in lowering stress. It teaches you techniques such as visualization, meditation, and deep breathing. 

A huge part of management comes from awareness. And this workbook shows you your patterns and tendencies. 

Parts of it contain worksheets that help you track and manage your emotions and stress levels. 

Once you become aware of your stressors, you become wiser in how you approach them. That’s why it’s become such an effective tool for anyone with high stress jobs. 

Many have used it for individuals in pain or with other stress-related disorders.

It serves as a guide for them to assess how their bodies react to stressors. It also gives you a wide range of responses you can use when you’re under stress. 

The techniques are simple to learn and use in various contexts, and the text is written in an easy-to-understand style. 

But, just like any skill, the methods will need practice, time, and patience to see results. 

This is a comprehensive book that may be a bit overwhelming to others. If you prefer short read guides for quick reference - this one might not be the best for you.

Get your copy of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook here.

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir

Books about Caregiving - Can't we talk about something pleasant?

Roz Chast, a cartoonist for the New Yorker, tackles the theme of aging parents with her trademark wit — a more lighthearted approach and dark humor. 

Her memoir is both pleasure and comic relief for anyone dealing with the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

Chast’s distinct style is light yet heartwarming. And she discusses heavy topics such as death and despair with her own brand of comedy. 

Books about Caregiving - The 36 Hour Day  strip

Image courtesy of Newyorker.com

The cartoons are three-dimensional accounts of her life. 

Chast's drawings are spot-on representations of her experience  Her cartoons also have many hidden details, such as the delicate expressions that develop on the characters' faces.

As an only child, she finds both humor and sorrow in caring for her aging parents. 

It can be an emotional roller coaster, especially for those not in the medical or elder care professions. 

The comics depict how one moment can be sweet and touching then extremely morbid the next. 

One reader describes the book as unflinchingly honest, and yet comforting during an exquisitely sensitive and demanding period. 

It talks about the realities of caring for the elderly. From finding the best place for parents to dealing with health professionals, and dealing with the guilt of watching your parents fade away. 

And while it offers a humorous take on elderly care, it still paints a bittersweet picture of what caregivers go through.

Get your copy of Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? here.

JOIN MY EMAIL LIST
For a free copy of 11 Common Fall Hazards in the Home and Solutions
And a free copy of the Static Balance Home Exercise Progression.

Final Thoughts

It can be scary and overwhelming to begin the process of caring for an aging parent. 

But it’s also good to know that you are not alone in this experience. 

Whether it’s your first time caring for a parent, or dealing with the late stages of life, there’s always someone you can reach out to for help. 

Sometimes it’s in the form of a book about caregiving. At times it will be a community on social media. 

Things might be confusing and tiring, and you don’t have to do it alone. 

Remember, all you need to do is reach out to get the help you need.


That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. AGE IN PLACE DESIGN GUIDELINES MADE ACHIEVABLE FOR THE ELDERLY
  2. HOW TO DEAL WITH IRRATIONAL ELDERLY PARENTS PEACEFULLY
  3. THE NEED FOR CAREGIVER SELF CARE WHEN CARING FOR THE ELDERLY

Can you really be a paid caregiver for your aging parent at home?

This is a common question that I get in my years dealing with geriatric care. 

Being a caregiver is expensive, time-consuming, and at times, can be emotionally draining. 

The good thing is, there are available options that you can take advantage of. 

Today, we are discussing the financial assistance options you can have that will help you become a paid caregiver

We will also be talking about the steps you need to complete to alleviate the financial challenges that caregiving can bring. 

Financial challenges of family caregivers 

Approximately 53 million Americans currently provide care to a family member. Most of them deal with children, a person with sickness or disability, and the elderly. 

Statistics show that nearly two-thirds of these caregivers are women in their late 40s. And at least 61% work full or part-time to provide for care expenses. 

While most caregivers say that the experience is gratifying, most also share significant financial challenges.

Three out of ten caregivers have stopped taking care of their savings account. One in five also report having problems managing their payables on time.

And at least 25% of caregivers have taken on more debt in an effort to maintain their loved one’s health and wellness. 

paid caregiver - overdue

On top of this, caregivers also often feel overwhelmed by their duties and responsibilities. 

Most find it challenging to manage their time and energy. 

22% of caregivers also talk about emotional and physical stress, especially those who take care of patients with dementia. 

Some also share feelings of isolation and lack of support from other family members. 

Because of this, caregivers can suffer from anxiety, causing their careers to take a backseat. 

The good thing is, there are existing programs that can ease the financial burdens that caregivers are experiencing. 

While it may not cover all of the elderly’s needs, it helps to know that there are existing options you can take advantage of. 

Programs that help you get paid as a family caregiver


At the moment, there are three major government programs that offer to pay for family members to care for an older adult. 


There are also private benefits programs that provide financial help for seniors as well. 

Medicaid programs 

Medicaid programs help seniors hire in-home care providers instead of professional caregivers. In some states, spouses are also allowed to be paid caregivers. 


This program is called the self-directed care program. It lets qualified people manage their own health services and hire family members as caregivers. 

Each Medicaid funding authority has different guidelines. But all authorities share common characteristics. 

For example, it is required that a person-centered planning process and assessment should be in place. 

Its purpose is to identify the strengths, capacities, preferences, and needs of the individual. A contingency plan is also created as a part of the person-centered plan. 

A service plan is also created specifying the services and support that need to be made to meet the senior’s preferences. 

An individualized budget is also set under the control and direction of the individual. 

States are also required to arrange for assistance and support to address the needs of the individual. 

Support guidelines are also set for each member. A supports broker or counselor is assigned to individuals who choose the self-direction portion. 

Financial management services are also available to assist the person in exercising budget authority. 

These can include understanding billing and documentation responsibilities, payroll, purchasing approved goods and services, and even tracking and monitoring budget expenditures. 

Learn more about Medicaid programs here. 

Special state programs 

Each state has programs that can help you become a paid caregiver. And these are catered towards those who are not eligible for Medicaid. 

Some states offer compensation, benefits, or support to those who meet the circumstance and eligibility factors. 

States like California, New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii offer to pay family caregivers and provide ongoing caregiving resources and support. 

California particularly stands out when it comes to family caregiver support. 

The state has the Paid Family Leave Act that provides benefit payments to those who go on temporary leave to care for a loved one who is seriously ill. 

It also has a unique program called Family Caregiver Services. This helps coordinate services for respite care, in-home, and out-of-home assistance. 

Nebraska also offers a similar one called the Lifespan Respite Program. Here, caregivers can get up to $125 per client per month. 

The goal of this program is to help pay for respite services and relieve caregivers of their responsibilities for a short period. 

Find the best options you have in your state and contact your local Area Agency on Aging here.  

Veterans benefit programs 

paid caregiver - veterans

Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services (VD-HCBS) is a home-based care program designed for veterans. 

Here the veteran can choose services that meet their needs. They also get assistance in managing their spending budgets, especially for personal care services. 

These services can include daily activities like groceries, fixing meals, and personal grooming. 

It is also designed for veterans who are feeling isolated or if their caregivers need a quick break. 

There are also the VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. It provides a monthly payment on top of the VA pensions for veterans and survivors. 

Veterans who have limited eyesight and are bedridden can qualify for this benefit. Those who are living in nursing homes due to physical or mental disabilities can also be eligible. 

If you’d like to know more about these programs, check out the Veterans Affairs website here. 

How to get support as a paid caregiver 

Now that you know some of the options for financial assistance, the next thing to do is to know your eligibility. 

Here are the steps you need to go through to get financial help. 

Determine your eligibility for available programs 

paid caregiver options

It is best for you to check if your loved one is eligible for Medicaid. 

If they are, you may be able to receive financial aid from the Self-directed Medicaid services programs. 

Note that this program may vary from state to state. And the best way to do this is to contact your local Medicaid office to check for eligibility. 

There’s also the HCBS that provides support and care oversight to help caregivers. The program also provides a tax-free stipend to ease the financial burdens of caregivers. 

Check for a long-term care insurance policy that includes caregiver compensation 

Most insurance policies do not include long-term care in their packages. But it’s still best for you to check if your loved one’s insurance policies include provisions for paying caregivers.

To do this, contact the insurance agent or company and ask about the caregiver payment benefit. 

JOIN MY EMAIL LIST
For a free copy of 11 Common Fall Hazards in the Home and Solutions
And a free copy of the Static Balance Home Exercise Progression.

Check if your company offers paid leave for caregivers 

It also makes sense for you to check your company’s rules when it comes to assisting employees who are caregivers. 

See if there are eldercare programs available or any paid leaves available that can help you while you’re considering other arrangements. 

Discuss options with family members 

You can also consider asking for help from family members for financial assistance, especially if you are the primary caregiver. 

It might be challenging, but it’s also best to get the help of an elder attorney in drafting a contract to protect yourself and your family. 

The contract should clearly state your responsibilities, work schedule, and even the payment schedule. 


This way it will be easier to make arrangements and keep an amicable relationship between the family. 

Get more tips on how to care for low-income seniors here. 


Conclusion

It is possible to become a paid caregiver for your loved ones at home. 

The challenge is knowing your options and keeping communications open between the caregiver and other family members. 

Do you have any tips on becoming a paid caregiver for your loved ones? Share in the comments below.


That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. AGE IN PLACE DESIGN GUIDELINES MADE ACHIEVABLE FOR THE ELDERLY
  2. HOW TO CARE FOR AN AGING PARENT: A MILLENNIAL'S GUIDE
  3. WHAT DO THE FACTS REVEAL ON DEATH FROM FALLING AMONG SENIORS?

What are the early signs of dementia you should be looking out for? 

We often think that being forgetful is a sign of aging. 

Contrary to popular belief, forgetfulness isn’t normal. Our brains can stay as sharp and continue to grow as we age. 

As caregivers to the elderly, we need to be on the lookout for subtle signs so we could reduce its risks. 

So let’s get started. 

What is dementia?

People would often equate dementia to memory loss. Truth is, dementia is much more complicated than that. 

CDC defines dementia as a general term for the impaired ability to process thoughts and memories. More often it affects a person’s way of living and even the most basic functions in their lives. 

Dementia is due to a variety of factors. This condition damages the brain, particularly affecting regions responsible for learning, memory, and decision-making.

It can also result from a collection of medical conditions including Alzheimer’s disease. 

Read more about Alzheimer’s disease here. 

Dementia affects about 5-8% of adults over the age of 65. The proportion doubles every 5 years and may affect half of the adults in their 80’s. 

According to WHO, dementia is the 7th leading cause of death among all diseases globally. It is also one of the top causes of disability and dependence among the elderly. 

Dementia has physical, psychological, social, and financial effects on those living with it. It also affects their caregivers, families, and society. 

While it’s pretty common, it can still be misunderstood. People suffering from dementia also deal with the stigma against it. 

There are still many false beliefs that affect other people’s attitudes and responses towards patients suffering from dementia.

What are the Types of Dementia 

People deal with different types of dementia. While it can be categorized as a syndrome, dementia can range from memory loss to severe mental disabilities. 

Dementia can be divided into two types, cortical and subcortical dementia. 

early signs of dementia

Cortical Dementia

Cortical dementia is the type of dementia caused by disorders affecting the brain’s cerebral cortex. 

As the brain’s outermost layer, the cerebral cortex deals with functions such as language, abstract details, creativity, judgment, emotions, and attention. 

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the types of cortical dementia. 

These diseases are mostly progressive and usually start with symptoms like memory loss. 

Subcortical Dementias

On the other hand, subcortical dementias affect the brain’s white matter. 

Patients do not have forgetfulness or linguistic difficulties. These kinds of dementia are due to Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and HIV. 

Some varieties of dementia damage both the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain like Lewy Body Dementia. 

Specific Types of Dementia 

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) causes a type of dementia that gets worse abnormally fast. 

It occurs when a brain protein called prion protein creates an abnormal shape. This eventually attacks and destroys brain cells. 

Because of this, the brain loses its neurons and leads to a rapid decline in thinking and reasoning. It also causes involuntary movements, confusion, walking challenges, and mood changes. 

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) happens to about one in every 1 million people worldwide. 

Read more about Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) here.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)  

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) refers to a group of disorders caused by progressive nerve loss. These areas include the frontal lobes or temporal lobes. 

It is also known as Pick’s disease, named after Arnold Pick, MD, a physician that first described the symptoms in 1892. 

There are two types of FTDs. First is the behavioral variant FTD which includes prominent changes in personality and behavior in people in their 50’s and 60’s.

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a type of degeneration that affects language skills, speaking, writing, and comprehension. 

Those affected by PPA are commonly in their midlife before age 65. 

Read more about FTDs here.

Mixed Dementia 

Mixed dementia happens when abnormal protein deposits associated with Alzheimer’s disease coexist with blood vessel problems related to vascular dementia. 

In some cases, patients suffer from brain changes brought about by Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia. 

The symptoms for these may vary depending on the brain changes and the areas affected by the damage. 

Read more about mixed dementia here. 

Vascular Dementia 

Vascular dementia is caused by inadequate blood flow to the brain. This is also commonly related to strokes, where major blockages affect the brain. 

Changes in thinking skills occur due to blockages caused by strokes. And it gradually worsens as the strokes happen. 

Experts also use the term “vascular cognitive impairment” to describe this type of dementia. 

Read more about vascular dementia here.

JOIN MY EMAIL LIST
For a free copy of 11 Common Fall Hazards in the Home and Solutions
And a free copy of the Static Balance Home Exercise Progression.

5 Early Signs of Dementia 

As family members and caregivers, what are early signs of dementia that you should be taking note of? 

Dementia symptoms can be subtle or severe, depending on the conditions experienced by the elderly. 

But the most common ones are very similar to that of Alzheimer’s disease. And most of the time, people disregard it as a mistake. 

Here are some of the early signs of dementia. 

Memory loss or memory changes

Do your aging parents forget key dates? Does it seem like they can’t retain new information? 

These may be early signs of dementia. And the changes are generally minor, and they seem to associate with the short-term recall. 

They might be asking the same questions or telling the same story over and over again. 

They may even fail to recall placements and other important tasks they need to do. 

Difficulties in words when speaking or writing

People suffering from dementia may have difficulty following or participating in a conversation. They will stop in the middle of a discussion and not know how to proceed, or they may repeat themselves. 

They may have difficulty with vocabulary and have trouble naming common things. 

Some may even change the names of items like watches to “hand clocks”. 

They may also have challenges in explaining abstract and complex thoughts. 

Changes in mood and personality

early signs of dementia - mood swings

Individuals suffering from dementia may notice changes in their mood and personality. They may become puzzled, doubtful, depressed, afraid, or apprehensive because of this experience. 

Their temper may flare up at home, around friends, or when they are out of their comfort zone.

It's also a common mistake to think of the symptoms as depression as they are quite similar. 

Check out more information about geriatric depression here.  

Apathy 

Those suffering from early signs of depression often display apathy. 

What used to be enjoyable activities can feel like a gargantuan task. 

Those who enjoy cooking now have the tendency to lose interest. They now tend to burn the food or stop cooking midway. 

They lose interest in all social interactions and may become aloof. 

Some even avoid people altogether and become reclusive because of the confusion they’re experiencing. 

If you’re seeing this symptom in your loved ones, make sure to check with your doctor. 

Confusion 

Elderly people who show dementia symptoms often easily become confused. 

They also often have judgment lapses and may even make decisions that are out of character. 

At times even faces can become confusing so there will be times when they don’t recognize people who used to be familiar. 

From misplacing car keys to difficulty in remembering what day it is, simple things can be a cause of confusion for them. 

How is dementia diagnosed?

The best thing to do is to see a doctor if you or someone you know has persistent dementia symptoms. 

Diagnosing dementia takes time. 

Initially, a clinician must first detect the pattern of loss of abilities. They will check functions and then assess what a person can still perform. 

Doctors diagnose it based on:

Specialists like neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, or geriatricians may be involved.

dementia symptoms

Cognitive tests are also administered to patients. They focus on checking memory processes, counting, reasoning, and language skills. 

Neurological tests will also be done. Doctors will test reflexes, eye movements, and even the patient’s sense of balance. 

Laboratory tests can include blood tests to check protein levels. This can help detect possible plaques in the brain. It also checks to see nutrient levels and possible thyroid issues. 

Psychiatric tests are also conducted to check for other similar symptoms like depression. 

They will also check on other factors that may trigger behavioral changes like the loss of a loved one, trauma, or any current struggles. 

Once the doctors confirm dementia, medications and therapies can begin.

At the moment, no one medication can cure dementia. Doctors prescribe medicine according to symptoms brought on by dementia. 

Cholinesterase inhibitors slow the breakdown of a brain chemical involved in memory and judgment. 

Memantine can help manage brain chemicals needed for learning and memory. 

For those suffering from depression symptoms, doctors can also prescribe antidepressants and antipsychotic medicines. 

How to prevent dementia in the elderly?

There’s no surefire way to prevent dementia. 

Even experts are still trying to find out more about how and why it happens. 

And as always, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle can delay its symptoms. 

Another way to prevent this is to provide them with therapeutic activities. These are creative and problem-solving activities that include work, life, and interests related. 

therapy treatment for dementia

It’s also beneficial for the elderly experiencing early symptoms of dementia to go through alternative therapies. 

Those who are experiencing problems with movement restrictions can benefit from physical or occupational therapy. 

PTs and OTs can help assess current conditions and recommend ways to make your home safer. They can also help make sure that patients can function regularly and independently. 

Some therapies can jog memory and thinking skills. 

Cognitive stimulation therapy can also help those who benefit most from group activities. Here, patients engage with other patients and do mentally engaging activities. 

Some therapists and health professionals also use reality orientation training. Patients go over basic things like their names, the time, and the date. 

Their environments can also have labels and other signs to guide them as they navigate this new world. 

As a caregiver, you can also help retrain the elderly to teach coping behaviors. These may include fall prevention and regulating behaviors. 

You can also help them by simplifying tasks and breaking them into easy-to-follow steps. 

Creating routines can also help possible dementia patients adapt better and avoid confusion. 

Get more details on how geriatric physical therapists benefit aging parents

Conclusion 

Knowing what early signs of dementia to take note of can make a huge difference in our aging parents’ well-being. 

Early diagnosis can help provide the right treatment needed to function independently. 

It also helps caregivers and family members respond better to the patient’s potentially difficult behaviors. 

The earlier we recognize these symptoms, the better it will be for our aging parents.

That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. MEMORY CARE FACILITIES: HOW TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE
  2. HOW MOBILITY TRAINING CAN BENEFIT ELDERS AGING IN PLACE
  3. THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITIES THAT BOOST THE MORALE OF THE ELDERLY

What are the early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly? And is it something you should be worried about as you get older? 

Alzheimer’s disease can be potentially risky, especially for our aging parents. 

The challenge is, there are many myths surrounding AD. And as caregivers, we must recognize its signs early on. 

Today, we’re answering some of the most common questions about the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. 

We will also talk about how we can potentially lessen its dangers for our loved ones. 

What is Alzheimer's Disease? 

Alzheimer's Disease is a type of dementia that causes memory loss and confusion. 

As a progressive illness, AD can affect a person’s ability to process information.

Its effects on the brain may begin years before it is diagnosed. 

During the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the brain changes its structure. This can include abnormal protein build-up, forming amyloid plaques and tangles. 

The build-up causes previously healthy neurons to stop working. Eventually, they lose connections with other neurons and die. 

Initial damage happens in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. These are parts of the brain that are critical in forming memories. 

Image courtesy of CDC.gov


The death of the cells affects the other parts of the brain, causing them to shrink. By the final stages, the brain tissues experience damage and significant shrinkage.  

Alzheimer’s disease can affect people of all ages, but it is most common in people over the age of 65. 

CDC statistics show one in nine adults aged 45 have reported confusion and memory loss. 

In 2020, the number of Americans living with AD have reached 5.8 Million. And the numbers are projected to nearly triple by 2060. 

Early diagnosis helps provide information on the severity of the disease and provide necessary intervention. 

And there are several ways to check for its early signs and symptoms. 

The key is to take note of it as early as possible so we could alleviate its potential risks. 

What are the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease? 

The early signs of Alzheimer’s can manifest decades before a person reaches 60 years old. It can be subtle and can show itself in various situations.

Most of the time, we don’t notice these changes because we get too busy with our lives. 

But if you’re living with an elderly loved one, then you should be looking out for these signs and symptoms. 

Thinking and Reasoning 

early signs of Alzheimer's disease to watch out for

If your elders are having a hard time concentrating and thinking, it might be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. 

What was previously routine, might now become confusing tasks. 

Multitasking may also be a challenge. 

Something simple as organizing and managing bills can become difficult. This can lead to missed payments or mismanaged finances. 

As the disease progresses, it’s possible that they lose understanding and even forget numbers altogether. 

Personality and Behavior Changes 

Do your loved ones switch from Mary Poppins to Cruella Deville in an instant?

Mood swings and behavior changes are among the more obvious signs you should be looking out for. 

Some show signs of apathy and loss of interest. 

Suddenly the activities they loved no longer appeal to them. Some even show aversions and social withdrawal. 

Some elderly suddenly lose their inhibitions and become more aggressive towards people. 

They may even have irrational tantrums or anger issues without warning. 

And then some seniors show signs of confusion. Familiar places become challenging to navigate and cause them to get lost. 

Difficulty in Decision Making 

Elders with early signs can display an inability to make reasonable decisions and judgments. 

This can show in simple tasks like deciding what to wear or what to eat. 

Sometimes they tend to wear clothes that are inappropriate for the season. At times, they lose track of time or forget directions. 

Routine activities suddenly become too complicated for them. And it will continue to worsen as the disease progresses. 

Delusions and Paranoia 

One of Alzheimer’s disease’s risk factors includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. 

The complex changes in the brain’s structure can cause unreal visions and false beliefs in the person. 

They may feel like they’re threatened or constantly being watched. 

Some can even feel like someone is out to get them. Others feel enraged, fearful, or jealous of people.

These false beliefs can cause a strain in relationships especially with family members. And it can be challenging to cope with these changes. 

Experts say that these signs can be related to a feeling of loss for the patients. 

Irrational fears, delusions, and hallucinations can be a way for them to express a loss they can’t make sense of. 

Read more about paranoia and delusions in Alzheimer’s disease here. 

Memory Loss 

This is the most common sign that people notice early on. 

Sure, we all get foggy-brained at times. We get so busy that we tend to forget the little things: keys, change, sometimes paperwork. 

Eventually, we get right on track. 

But for the elderly suffering from early symptoms, it can be different. 

Memory loss can manifest as repeated questions and statements. They easily forget conversations, appointments, and events. 

Sometimes they tend to misplace things in ridiculous and illogical locations.

Even identifying items, expressing thoughts, or recalling family members can be difficult for them. 

Alzheimer's Disease Stages

Alzheimer’s disease progresses in three general stages. 

Each person might experience different symptoms. Some take years for it to manifest. Others can feel the progressions way faster than the others. 

Here are the three stages you should be aware of. 

Mild AD

5 early signs of Alzheimer's disease

People suffering in this stage can still function independently. Despite this, the person might feel like having episodes and memory lapses. 

The symptoms may not be as obvious to others. But those who are close to them might notice a slight change as mentioned in the early symptoms above. 

At this stage, they might be starting to forget names or newly acquired information. Losing or misplacing valuable objects can also be evident. 

Some can display challenges in organizing information or events. 

It’s still possible for people with symptoms to live well and take control of their overall health. 

It’s also best to consult doctors and professionals for help. It’s also good to consider planning for financial, legal, and end-of-life plans once a diagnosis is completed. 

JOIN MY EMAIL LIST
For a free copy of 11 Common Fall Hazards in the Home and Solutions
And a free copy of the Static Balance Home Exercise Progression.

Moderate AD

This stage may require a lot of assistance for patients. 

At this time, symptoms may be more pronounced. Behavioral changes may be more common, and patients may have unexplained bouts of mood swings. 

Simple tasks like grooming and hygiene can start becoming a challenge. And the extensive damage in the brain can cause difficulty in expressing thoughts and performing routine tasks. 

Some patients have a hard time recalling information about themselves. They also tend to forget even the most important events in their lives. 

Family members can feel like strangers. They can even forget names and faces. 

Some experience a drastic change in sleeping patterns and an increased tendency to wander and get lost. 

Some patients experience incontinence or loose bowels as well. 

This stage of the disease can still participate in daily activities but may require assistance. 

Because of this, the tasks they need to do must be simplified to still make them feel autonomous. 

Learn how to deal with irrational loved ones better here. 

Severe AD

This is the final stage of Alzheimer’s where individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment. 

Patients lose their cognitive skills, making it difficult to engage in conversation. Some even lose the ability to control their movement. 

Because of their deteriorating brain functions, they may also lose the ability to swallow. 

This makes them vulnerable to other illnesses and infections. 

While it may be a challenging time for the patient, the caregiver, and the family, there are still ways to preserve the patient’s quality of life. 

At this point, the patient can continue to experience the world through their senses. 

Caregivers can focus on expressing care by playing their favorite tunes or reminiscing with old photos. 

Touch also plays a huge role in making patients feel loved and cared for. Simple activities such as grooming can mean a lot for them. 

Family members and caregivers can also go for palliative care options

The goal is to help late-stage Alzheimer’s patients to be relieved of suffering and still get the best possible quality of life. 

These organized services can be helpful especially for those having a lot of discomfort and disability. 

Learn more about safety tips for taking care of the elderly.

Is Alzheimer's Disease Genetic? 

early signs of Alzheimer's disease - is it genetic

Many worry about developing AD later in life. 

The truth is, having a family member who’s had it doesn’t mean you’re sure to have it as well. 

Genetic risk factors can increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s in the future. 

New research also found a link between Alzheimer’s and your lifestyle choices. 

Head trauma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes can increase your probability of getting it in the future. That’s why you must encourage a balanced diet and an active lifestyle in your aging parents as well. 

How To Treat Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a complex degenerative illness. Therefore, there are several approaches and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. 

The proper diagnosis is the most important part. Different tests and assessments are needed to confirm and rule out potential causes. 

Some drugs can help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's. 

Galantamine, rivastigmine, and donepezil are cholinesterase inhibitors that can help control some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's. 

In addition, these drugs can help reduce or prevent some of the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer's.

Another type of drug that people with Alzheimer's can take is a disease-modifying drug called Aducanumab. 

It is believed to remove a protein called amyloid, which suggests being the main reason behind the decline and death of brain cells. 

A healthy diet, exercise, socializing, and mentally stimulating activities can also improve the conditions of Alzheimer’s early stages. 

early signs of Alzheimer's disease - aromatherapy

Other alternative treatments can include acupuncture, aromatherapy, and supplements like coconut oil and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Studies show acupuncture can stimulate mood and cognitive functions for those suffering from AD. 

Essential oils like rosemary, lemon, and lavender are also said to improve one’s mood by activating olfactory functions. 

Though it’s important to note that further studies are needed to confirm the effects of aromatherapy, herbal medicines, and other alternative treatments. 

Read more about it here

Conclusion

Many would think that being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is a death sentence. 

But truth is, it’s far from it. 

New research and methods are being discovered that helps to treat and alleviate the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. 

What’s most important is to recognize the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and have it properly diagnosed by doctors and experts. 

This way, your loved ones can get the best care possible.

That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. MEMORY CARE FACILITIES: HOW TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE
  2. WARNING SIGNS OF DEPRESSION IN SENIORS TO LOOK OUT FOR
  3. 5 EFFECTIVE TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP IN THE ELDERLY