The symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease are so severe in the later stages that many seniors worry about developing this condition. With so much fear associated with Alzheimer’s, it’s common to find conflicting reports in the media regarding how much it can be prevented. While it would be nice to know seniors can prevent Alzheimer’s from developing, the truth is there are factors beyond anyone’s control that affect who gets the disease. For instance, genetics play a huge role in who is diagnosed with the disorder. However, knowing about the risk factors that can be controlled offers a better chance at staving off the disease or slowing it down in someone who is already diagnosed.
How Alzheimer’s Disease Affects the Brain
Seniors today are fortunate to be able to benefit from new research that sheds light on how Alzheimer’s changes the brain. For instance, it’s now understood that proteins within the brain stop functioning normally and begin to cause problems such as damage to the neural connections that affect cognitive processes. For most people, these changes occur in the part of the brain that affects memory, which is why this is one of the primary symptoms people associate with the disease. Over time, the damage continues to spread through the brain until other symptoms develop that may influence mood and physical functioning. While it’s not known how to stop these proteins from functioning abnormally, the scientific community recognizes there are certain risk factors that seem to increase the chances of developing symptoms.
Whether seniors are at risk of Alzheimer’s or need encouragement to maintain a healthy lifestyle, regular help from trained caregivers can be beneficial in a variety of ways. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elderly home care. New Hampshire families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Risk Factors That Influence Who Develops Alzheimer’s
A person who has a first-degree relative with Alzheimer’s has a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s simply because of genetic factors. Aging is another risk factor people have little control over. While these two statements may seem daunting, it’s reassuring to know that other risk factors are controllable, including sleep habits, diet, and exercise routine.
Tips to Reduce the Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease
Preventing Alzheimer’s disease might not be totally possible, but you can eliminate risk factors by establishing a healthy lifestyle plan for your aging loved one. Start by making sure your loved one gets enough sleep at night. Then, address current health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease that increase the risk of changes in cognitive abilities. Since head trauma is associated with a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, just practicing fall prevention methods at home may preserve your loved one’s cognitive functioning.
Boosting a loved one’s cognitive health can be challenging for family caregivers who don’t have enough knowledge to provide tailored support. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. New Hampshire family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
Steps to Take to Slow the Progression After a Diagnosis
After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, you can still take steps to slow down the effects the disease has on the brain. Make sure your loved one is able to take prescribed medications appropriately. Your loved one may also need to stop unhealthy habits such as smoking that contribute to the development of plaques in the brain. While it does take work, the majority of changes seniors with Alzheimer’s disease need to make can contribute to a better sense of overall wellbeing as well as enhanced cognitive functioning.
Aging adults with Alzheimer’s may need extensive assistance as the disease progresses. New Hampshire in-home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers. To talk to one of our Care Managers today, contact Home Care Assistance at (603) 471-3004.