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How to care Alzheimer’s Disease Patients

Atefa Noorain
Atefa Noorain
June29/ 2016


Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disorder (brain disorder) leading to memory loss and problem solving disability. It is common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia is the loss of thinking, reasoning, remembering ability of a person. Alzheimer’s disease completely disturbs the functioning of brain and in most cases leads to death of the person. After cardiac arrest and cancer Alzheimer is known to cause the highest death rate in countries like USA.Alzheimer’s disease is seen in people above 60 years of age.

History of Alzheimer’s disease

The disease is named after the scientist who first discovered it Dr.Alois Alzheimer in 1906.He noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who died of a mental illness. The main symptoms which she had shown were memory loss, language problem, and unpredictable behaviour. When Dr. Alzheimer examined her, he found clumps in her brain which can block the passage of the blood flow and loss of connection between the neuron. Neurons transfer the messages to the different parts of brain and from the brain to different organs of the body. When the connection between the neurons is lost, it leads to death of neurons. The death of neurons affects other parts of the brain resulting in shrinking of the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is mainly caused due to the unusual clumps in the brain. Researchers have said that the disease is caused due to the gene mutation. The initial signs of Alzheimer’s disease vary from person to person based on the age and severity of disease. Age of the patient and the past health record is the key factor in Alzheimer’s disease. The patient’s situation becomes critical as the time proceeds.

Based on the onset of disease there are two types of Alzheimer’s diseases

  1. Late-onset of Alzheimer’s – It is due to the different changes occurring in the brain
  2. Early onset of Alzheimer’s – It is due to the genetic mutations

Beside the genetic mutations, health, environment and lifestyle also have an equal effect on the onset and severity of the disease.

  • Health conditions – If the person was suffering from any neurologic problem in past then it can have a negative impact on patient’s health. Neurological disorders weaken the person nervous system and worsen the situation when the same person suffers from Alzheimer’s.
  • Environment – The personal and social environment of the person also play an important role in Alzheimer’s patients. The patient should be encouraged to involve in social gathering and build a healthy relation with the people.
  • Lifestyle – Healthy nutritious diet can be one of the preventive measures to avoid memory loss. Healthy food activates your nervous system and helps in proper functioning of the brain. Exercise and meditation also results in boosting the person’s energy.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

The initial symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease includes

  • Memory loss

Memory loss is the most common symptom of Alzheimer’s patients as they are unable to recollect the recent events happened in past. They will not be able to recollect what they have learned recently or activity they have participated in

  • Difficulty in concentration

The patient find difficulty in concentrating on certain task assigned to them. They are unable to perform the daily activities which they were used to do earlier.

  • Inability to face problem solving situations

They will not be able to follow a set of rules. They will face difficulty in thinking of a solution to any problem.

  • Confusion with time and place

Most people forget the place where they were residing. They cannot remember the time periods when they have started their task or any other activity.

  • Problem in understanding visual images

People are unable to understand the visual images due to the death of neurons, which are supposed to transfer the messages from the brain to other organs

  • Unable to judge the situations

Patients suffering with Alzheimer’s are unable to take a firm decision and give judgement on the same.

  • Avoiding social gatherings

Most people try to isolate themselves from social gatherings as they cannot recognize their peers resulting in low self esteem.

  • Frequent mood swings

Most people have frequent mood swings leading to unpredictable behaviour not acceptable by the society.

Risk factors

There are several risk factors which can influence Alzheimer’s disease

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Tobacco intake
  • Excess alcohol
  • Family history

The person can avoid Alzheimer’s disease if the above listed risk factors are controlled.

Treatment and care

There is no cure to Alzheimer’s disease. The person dealing with Alzheimer’s disease patient need to be very patient and calm to understand his/her problem. There are few tips which can be advised to the patient in dealing with the following problems.

  • Short term memory loss

Suggest the patient to maintain a notebook and pen down the daily activities. The patient can make a to-do list and carry with him/her to avoid confusion. The place of daily accessories used by the patient can be mentioned in book to reduce the stress levels

  • Language problem

Try to be patient when the diseased is unable to recall a word and facing difficulty in speech. Don’t force them to say instantly as it may inhibit recall.

  • Understanding

The patients usually try to ask same question repeatedly till he/ she understands it. Try to answer them in different way which they can understand without being annoyed.

  • Depression

The diseased tries to isolate in such cases and faces depression. Try to involve them in social activities and personal gathering to motivate them and don’t make them feel lonely. Society and families play an important role in dealing with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Taking care of such patients is very challenging both physically and mentally. There are support groups in many countries which try to support and discuss the problems faced by the family and gives solutions for the same. More such support groups and social organizations should try and contribute in dealing with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Atefa Noorain
Atefa Noorain

Atefa Noorain, (Microbiologist) former Head of the Department of Life Sciences, Assistant Professor of Microbiology at Sujatha Degree College for Women. She worked as an Associate Research Analyst at Thomson Reuters and an Associate Editor of two research journals. She has presented her research work in 3 International Conferences. She has written articles for national journals and international journals. She had been felicitated as a Young Speaker in the last conference. She has worked on Nanoparticles as a part of her research project and won the Best Scientist of the Day award.

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