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Definitions of Alzheimer's and Dementia care
Alzheimer's disease and dementia both tend to effect the elderly. Caring for a loved one suffering from either disease is both demanding and heartrending, as the damage due to memory loss is often irreversible. There is help and assistance available for seniors and their caretakers. The following are some common terms associated with the care of an Alzheimer's or dementia patient.
Dementia – Dementia is the loss of mental functions (such as thinking, memory and reasoning), that is severe enough to interfere with a person's daily functioning. Dementia is not a disease, but rather is caused by diseases and conditions. Therefore, depending on the causes of dementia, such as drug use, dementia may be able to be cured. Usually, however, there is no cure.
Alzheimer's disease – The most common cause of dementia, where the brain cells degenerate and die, causing a steady loss of mental functioning.
Assisted living residences – Places that provide daily living support to ensure health and well being. Many have special areas for patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's and are staffed with professionals who can support them.
Home care – This is a form of adult day care, where a sitter comes and stays during the day with the patient in the caretaker's home, as most Alzheimer's and dementia patients eventually reach a stage where they should not be left alone.
Nursing home – 24 hour medical and daily care. Patients come here when they care incapable of taking care of themselves and their health anymore.
Hospice care – End-of life care, usually available when a patient is expected to live less than 6 months. Pain is controlled as much as possible while nurses and other caregivers are available for medical, psychological and spiritual support. Hospice care can occur in the home, nursing center or hospital.
When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the future can seem uncertain. This illness, the most common form of dementia, ravages the mind and impairs the memory. The symptoms can vary from patient to patient, but many families prefer to keep their elderly loved ones living at home. When dealing with an elderly Alzheimer’s patient, most turn to one of these medical care options. This allows the patient to enjoy the days of respite with their family while still receiving quality treatment.
An adult day care is usually chosen by those who are seeking for someone to look after their relative during work hours. A positive aspect of this option is that there will be multiple seniors in the rehab program so there will be opportunity to socialize. Many of these facilities arrange field trips and entertainment for the patients as well. This would not be the best choice for those whose health is greatly impaired, those who do not have many moments of respite from the disease, or those who need a lot of individual help.
Another choice is a Geriatric home nurse. An aide can come to your home to assist the patient with daily living. The nurse’s responsibilities will vary depending on the health of the patient, but it can anything be light housekeeping duties and companionship to taking care of bathing and basic needs. Hospice can help you arrange this service with a local agency. Whichever choice you choose, make sure that the people assisting your loved ones have the necessary skills and understand how to help throughout the different stages of the disease.