It seems that many people don’t know the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. It also seems there is even some confusion among doctors and other health care providers. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines Dementia as; “A word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain”. It is not a specific disease. Besides Alzheimer’s, there are other forms of dementia: Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Frontotemporal Dementia, Huntington’s Disease, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, Parkinson’s Disease, Vascular Disease, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Some of these diseases have a range of symptoms from mild to severe.
Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University has outlined the seven major clinical stages of Alzheimer’s Disease:
• Stage 1: Normal (This is most of us)
• Stage 2: Normal Aged Forgetfulness (can’t remember names, can’t find the right words, etc.)
• Stage 3: (MCI) Mild Cognitive Impairment (asking the same questions over and over, trouble writing, etc.)
• Stage 4: Mild Alzheimer’s (Trouble managing finances, difficulty shopping, becoming withdrawn, etc.)
• Stage 5: Moderate Alzheimer’s (Difficulty managing daily activities, dressing, cooking, mood changes, etc.)
• Stage 6: Moderately Severe Alzheimer’s (Daily judgment impaired, incontinence, needing assistance daily, etc.)
• Stages 7: Severe Alzheimer’s (Needing continual assistance to survive, speech impaired, inability to ambulate etc.)
This is just a brief description of some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, to see the full description go to: http://www.alzinfo.org/clinical-stages-of-alzheimers
If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, at stage 4 to 7, you may need help managing the care of your loved one. The sooner you plan for the later stages, the better prepared you’ll be for the changes that will occur. Anyone who has dealt with this type of patient can tell you that it can be hard work, especially if you’re not educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of the disease. Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease can be difficult to cope with because of the changes they are going through physically and emotionally. The symptoms won’t be the same in everyone or happen at the same time. Having a list that you can check will help you and your health care providers manage the care more efficiently and effectively.
This is where a good in-home health directory can help. These directories can point you to the resources and services you will need, as well as the products you’ll need to buy, making your life a little easier.
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