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Do you see that your mother seems to have forgotten what she cooked best? Or have you seen your father having difficulty recognizing family members? Is any of the senior family member having difficulty with performing common daily tasks or being forgetful? These may be signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), there is progressive degeneration of memory and other cognitive abilities. In simple word, Alzheimer’s disease causes difficulty in memory, reasoning, thinking and communication, these problem develop slowly and only gets worse over time. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia and is usually seen to occur after the age of 65, although there are cases of early onset at the age of 40. 

In AD, abnormal structures, plaques and tangles, form in the brain which prevents brain cells to communicate with each other, eventually leading to death of the brain cell. This is usually seen to initially occur in the parts of brain that are responsible for memory, which later spread to other areas. The effects of AD makes the patient eventually unable to carry out their normal daily activities. Example, initially the patient might not remember where they kept their keys later they might not recognize their own family members. There are different types of Alzheimer’s disease depending on the part of the brain area affected. 

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

Mild Moderate Severe
  • Misplacing or losing things around the house.
  • Difficulty in recalling a conversation
  • Difficulty in handling moneyGetting lost in a familiar place.
  • Few behavioral changes.Taking longer time to complete daily tasks
  • Memory loss increases
  • Difficulty in orientation
  • Unable to learn new skills
  • Difficulty in facing new situations.
  • Difficulty in recognizing people
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Inability in carrying out daily activities such as dressing
  • Hallucinations, paranoia and delusions are possible
  • Unable to communicate
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of control over bowel movements
  • Increased sleep

Advancing age is known as the greatest risk factor for AD. Experts are yet to discover the exact reason as to why, with age the risk of AD dramatically increases. Alzheimer’s Disease is seen to run in families. If an individual has  AD, the family members are more likely to get AD than other people whose family members do not have it. This could be either because of genetic or environmental factors.

There is currently no cure for AD, although there are treatment, therapies and medications available that help manage the symptoms better. They slow down the progression of the symptoms. In AD a professional help is necessary. There are support professional teams available to help the patient. This team includes a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, a physician, nurse and a caretaker. All of them address to the patient’s needs according to their specialities. The medication given helps increase motivation and improve concentration, it also enables the patient to carry out daily activities such as cooking.

There are possibilities that the patient may develop other mental illness such as anxiety and depression. In these cases counselling and therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy can be beneficial. In extreme cases, sometimes family members are not able to provide the necessary facilities and settings. For these cases there are rehabilitation and home care centers available that give the patients the required services as well as the living settings that enable them to function adequately. To explore one of such facilities with an expert team, visit www.cadabams.org, where the team works together to help the person with alzheimer’s cope with the symptoms.  

As your parents age, it can be a challenge to figure out how to care the best for them. Especially for those who are suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. They may have health care needs or simply just need help with day to day tasks that make an elder home care the best option.  

Alzheimer's, while considered a disease of the elderly, actually can strike at any age. True, it more often affects older people, but the onset can vary enough that everyone needs to know what the condition is and what can be done for it. For every person who is stricken with this disabling condition, there are family members and friends who are faced with difficult decisions regarding their daily care.

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doctors | Alzheimers


M.Sc (Psychology), M.Phil Psychology, Phd in Psycho-oncology 

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Dr Arun Kumar



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