A report from the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that some 6.2 million people in the U.S.A. aged 65 or older were living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2021. That equates to over one in 1 in 9 or 11.3% of people aged 65 or older. Of these, two-thirds or 3.8 million are women.
While the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia require highly specialized care, a lot can be done for those in the early throes of dementia. Early symptoms include difficulty in remembering names, dates, events, or appointments without the use (or even with) of memory aids. There may be problems relating to familiar tasks such as operating the microwave, TV or matters relating to personal hygiene on a regular basis. No longer knowing the time or date often leads to neglected appointments and commitments. Loss of vision associated to brain effects from dementia or possibly age-related eye cataracts can cause problems with driving which also can affect attending appointments whether from loss of memory or the inability to drive.
The growing inability to hold or follow a conversation or to perform tasks once routine, may lead to withdrawal from social connections and mood and personality changes. The person may then become difficult to deal with due to their unwarranted suspicions and growing distrust of others.
All these symptoms can and do occur during the early stages of dementia and place a tremendous burden on the sufferer’s nearest and dearest. It is hard for the family to find the time and knowledge to best be able to provide much assistance to their loved ones during these troubled times. Even if the person is in a care facility, the staff need to divide their time between many residents and cannot always provide the benefits of personal attention that a care provider can.
To this end, home care services can meet and exceed the needs of dementia patients. Comfort may be gained purely from companionship but care givers can provide a range of additional services from ensuring daily routines, maintaining medication schedules, transporting to and ensuring attendance at scheduled events and appointments, maintaining healthy diet and hygiene regimens, home management and more.
If your loved one is in a nursing home or care facility, some of these services will already be provided but benefits can still be found from regular connection to a recognized caregiver providing companionship and transport to and from scheduled appointments as well as social and other activities that the care facility is unable to provide.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are usually irreversible and, ultimately lead to the sufferer’s demise. Also, annual deaths among dementia sufferers has more than doubled since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Retaining home care services can alleviate some of the problems to the benefit of the patient in their twilight years and provide relief to their families.