Dementia Types

Alzheimer's Disease

Overview

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80 percent of dementia cases. Right now, it’s estimated more than five million Americans are living with the disease. Alzheimer’s is a slow, fatal disease of the brain which typically begins by destroying brain cells where memories are formed. The disease is caused by plaques and tangles, abnormal protein fragments that accumulate in the brain, though we don’t exactly understand why.

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Common Warning Signs

  • Memory loss
  • Trouble planning or problem solving
  • Difficulty completing normal tasks at home, work or leisure
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty understanding spatial relationships
  • Trouble with words or speaking
  • Poor judgment
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Withdrawing socially

What Is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia which affects memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s develop slowly, but progressively worsen over time. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but treatment for symptoms is available to improve a person’s quality of life. Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed through a complete medical assessment including a thorough medical history, mental status testing and physical and neurological exams, and other tests to rule out other causes of dementia-like symptoms.

What Should I Expect As A Caregiver

For caregivers, understanding common behavior changes of someone living with Alzheimer’s is important. A person with Alzheimer’s may need help with planning their day and remembering appointments, or even simple tasks like dressing and bathing. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s may become frustrated, anxious or embarrassed by their cognitive decline. A caregiver may need to provide emotional and physical support, as well as encouragement. Individuals with Alzheimer’s may become restless, experience rapid mood swings, or wander. Knowing how to balance a person’s safety and independence becomes more difficult as the disease progresses.

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Risk Factors

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Age

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Family History

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Genetics

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Moderate to Severe Head Trauma

Seven Stages Of Alzheimer's

The following stages help provide a general idea of how the disease will affect certain abilities. The seven-stage framework is based on a system developed by Barry Reisberg, M.D., clinical director of the NYU School of Medicine’s Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center.

  • No Impairment

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  • Very Mild Cognitive Decline

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  • Mild Cognitive Decline

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  • Moderate Cognitive Decline

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  • Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

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  • Severe Cognitive Decline

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  • Very Severe Cognitive Decline

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How Can We Help?

Meeting the demands of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult and seem impossible. At Arden Courts, memory care is all we do. We offer the following services dedicated to those living with memory impairments, their family members, caregivers and health care professionals.

  • Support, education and information for caregivers and family members
  • An environment that helps to keep residents safe and as independent as possible
  • Staff specially trained on caring for residents living with memory loss
  • Structured, engaging programs, ongoing throughout the day, seven days a week
  • Programs personalized for all levels of dementia and focused on what the resident can do, capitalizing on lifelong experiences and familiar routines
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Case Study

Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease (EOAD)

Our Resident's Story

All her adult life, Violet loved spending time in her garden. She looked forward to retirement and the chance to take a Master Gardening course. She was just 55 when her doctor diagnosed her with EOAD. Her husband still worked full-time and he worried about her safety when he wasn’t at home. Violet’s family also longed to keep her connected to people and her flowers. When she first moved to Arden Courts, Violet rarely came out of her room and insisted, “I don’t belong with those people.” Learn more below about how our programming helped Violet.

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Individual Pursuits

The staff at Arden Courts patiently built a relationship with Violet while nurturing her love of plants. They filled her room with houseplants and gave her a gardening plot on the grounds which she maintained with the staff’s help. Many days, staff members provided her with bundles of fresh flowers for her to arrange.

Engagement Therapy

Violet eventually grew comfortable interacting with “those people” in small groups. She found friends who shared her interest in gardening. She could no longer write, but she liked to listen, especially to talks related to gardening topics. Her small group gave her a chance to express her opinions and share her gardening experiences in a safe and friendly environment.

Lifestyle Programming

As Violet’s disease progressed, she visited large group programming more often as a break from wandering. The music and laughter enticed her and she would stay for 45 minutes or more. Her circle of friends became wider and she enjoyed the safety and comfort of others.

Namaste Care

Violet eventually became unstable while walking and less able to interact with others. She transitioned to Namaste Care where programming is designed to be slower and sensory based. She enjoys looking out the window at the breeze blowing the branches while listening to soothing music. In addition, she finds pleasure in smelling fresh flowers and looking through a specially-made scrapbook of all her favorite flowers.

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