Do you know someone who has Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s is ranked the number seven leading cause of death in the United States, with about 6 million Americans diagnosed. June is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The effects Alzheimer’s can have on oneself as well as one’s family are often challenging. Below are a few tips to help recognize the signs, understand risk factors and treatment, help a family member or friend process, and help navigate the new world that Alzheimer’s can bring into someone’s life.
The earlier you can catch the disease developing, the more you can do to ease the transition and get the help your loved one needs. There are many signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. Memory loss and depletion of critical thinking skills are significant indicators. For example, forgetting how to start the washing machine or not being able to follow through with plans you’ve made. Other things like quick changes in mood or lack of social ability, like quitting hobbies or losing motivation to complete projects, can be indicators. These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s. Other things like stress and anxiety can lead to the same symptoms. That is why it is essential to get regular checkups and find ways to reduce what could be causing these symptoms.
There are also risk factors when it comes to Alzheimer’s. Age is a significant factor. Although this disease is not a part of normal aging, there are substantial increases in risk in your 60s. Family medical history and genetics also play a big role. If your parent or sibling shows signs, there is a higher risk for you to also have the disease. Your lifestyle, learning, and social engagement can also contribute. Therefore, it is imperative to exercise your body and brain. Daily walks can improve mood and maintain healthy joints, muscles, and the heart. Studies have also found a link between low levels of education and higher risks of Alzheimer’s. Learning new things can be fun to make memories with your loved ones and keep you healthy and alert.
If you know someone with Alzheimer’s, there are still ways to stay connected with them. Some activities to do together may include working on a puzzle, visiting a local museum, or listening to their favorite music. No matter what you do, spending meaningful time with them will improve their quality of life. Know that you are not alone and there are people willing to help.
For more information, or if you need assistance, Highland Family Medicine is here to help. You can contact us through our website, murfreesborofamilydoctor.com, or call (615)-890-4810.