Dementia is an inclusive term for medical condition that causes problems with a person’s memory, judgment, and reasoning abilities. For example, sufferers of dementia might have trouble recognizing familiar areas or even people, forget the right words, or neglect to remember how to perform certain actions. Although often the terms Alzheimer’s and dementia are often confused for one another, Alzheimer’s disease is actually just one type of dementia.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
The risk of contracting Alzheimer’s is highest for those over the age of 60, although it is possible for younger people to get it as well. The disease currently has no cure, and sufferers will need increasing care and support as the disease progresses. Both the patients and their families may deal with a high amount of stress resulting from the diagnosis and the advancement of the disease. Palliative care can help to relieve the suffering of patients as well as their families. If you have been recently diagnosed, you may want to consider palliative care as you start to think about disease management.
How to manage Alzheimer’s Disease and it’s symptoms: Palliative Care
Palliative care is specialized medical care meant to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for patients with serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. It can be provided alone or in combination with curative treatment. Palliative care may involve a team of doctors, nurses, specialists, and social workers who cooperate with regular doctors to provide individualized support to the patient.
Such a concerted effort by your medical team can be highly effective at preventing or alleviating insomnia, depression, and anxiety- common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. It can also help by educating you and your family how to avoid triggering specific behavioral symptoms, or developing techniques to retain health as long as possible.
For example, one of the key recommendations your palliative care team may recommend is the maintenance of daily routines. Other practices, such as physical fitness exercises and memory therapy will help to keep the brain active, as will good lighting and wise sleep habits.
Any other medical problems, such as heart disease or lung disease, any symptoms or associated pain can also be managed by your care team.
Benefits of Palliative Care
Although palliative care can be initiated anywhere along the timeline of the disease, if begun immediately at diagnosis it can be a supportive element when you are beginning to process the news of the disease. Your medical team can offer support, answer questions and alleviate concerns. They can also help to make an official strategy for treatment and level of care during the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Where Care Is Provided
As the disease progresses, the team can provide support to your family as they care for you at home or at an assisted living facility. They will make sure you are safe, while guiding your family through the struggles of having a loved one with Alzheimer’s. When problems like feeding, infections and hospitalization may arise, your palliative care team can help your family to make the best decision with your preferences in mind.
Palliative care can be provided in the hospital, via outpatient clinic, or even potentially at home. Although the diagnosis is grim, palliative care can help to assuage the burden for you and your family and provide the highest possible quality of life.
We Are Here To Support You
If you or a loved one are suffering from Alzheimer’s, contact your doctor to get a referral for palliative care. To find a palliative care team near you, contact our Harbor Light Hospice today.