Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain in ways that cause memory loss and confusion. As a family caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s, you may have some idea of how the disease progresses and what to expect. However, you may not know much about the physical effects it has on the brain.
Brain Changes Caused by Alzheimer’s
Everyone’s brain gets smaller with age. A healthy brain may even lose some neurons. However, the shrinkage is much more pronounced in people who have Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, there is a great deal of damage done to neurons. Neurons stop working, lose connections with other neurons, or die off completely.
Another change that occurs is the build-up of proteins that form plaques and tangles. The plaques and tangles spread through the brain in a similar pattern for all people who have Alzheimer’s disease. However, the rate at which they spread varies. Typically, older adults live between four and eight years after receiving a diagnosis. However, some people live as long as 20 years.
Changes That Occur in Each Stage
Alzheimer’s disease is described as progressing in stages. The changes to the brain cause the disease to move through its stages as follows:
-Early Stage: The very first stage of Alzheimer’s disease begins with no noticeable symptoms. It can start as early as 20 years before the older adult is diagnosed. It starts when plaques and tangles begin to form. The disease begins in parts of the brain that control memory, learning, planning, and thinking. Testing doesn’t indicate the presence of the disease yet.
-Middle Stage: In the middle stages, the number of plaques and tangles increase and spread to parts of the brain that control speech. Now there are noticeable symptoms like confusion and trouble communicating. The older adult will also have trouble recognizing people they know well. Their behavior and personality will also change.
-Late Stage: Damage has occurred to the majority of the outer part of the brain. Significant shrinkage has also taken place because of the death of brain cells. The older adult doesn’t recognize the people they once knew well, cannot take care of themselves, and are unable to communicate.
Alzheimer’s is a difficult condition to cope with, but family caregivers do not have to shoulder the responsibility alone. Elder care can help so that the disease isn’t quite so overwhelming. Elder care providers can come to the senior’s home to take care of them while you are away at work or when you simply need a break. Elder care providers can assist with nearly everything family members can, including dressing, bathing, eating, toileting, and much more.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Homecare in Hoover, AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today.
Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan still owns and operates a successful accounting firm in Pelham.She believes that the combination of her business experience and compassion for others is a perfect blend to grow Senior Legacy into a leader in the senior home care industry.Susan is committed to the further growth of Senior Legacy’s clients, employees, and surrounding community.
Susan has four wonderful children, and three amazing grandkids.She loves spending time with her family and enjoys traveling and gardening in her down time.
Latest posts by Susan Smith (see all)
- How to have an Energizing Day with an Elderly Parent - July 2, 2019
- What ADLs do Caregivers Help Complete? - June 18, 2019
- Cheap Kitchen Improvements That Will Increase Safety for Your Mom - June 4, 2019