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Home Care Services and the Stages of Alzheimer’s disease

Home Care Services and the Stages of Alzheimer’s disease

In many cases, home care is needed for care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease when safety of the loved one comes into question, and self-care abilities decline. The stages below provide an overall idea of how abilities change once symptoms appear, and should only be used as a general guide.   The stages are separated into three different categories: Mild or early Alzheimer’s disease, Moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and Severe or late Alzheimer’s disease. Be aware that it may be difficult to place a person with Alzheimer’s in a specific stage as stages may overlap. The stages of Alzheimer’s are helpful in finding the words to discuss Alzheimer’s. Caregivers find them particularly useful in support groups, as well as in conversations with doctors and other professionals. Mild or early stage Alzheimer’s In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may function independently. He or she may still drive, work, and be part of social activities. In the early Alzheimer’s stage, people may experience: Memory loss for recent events,and repeatedly ask the same question. Difficulty with problem-solving, complex tasks and sound judgments.Planning a family event, keeping score in a game, or balancing a chequebook may become overwhelming. Changes in personality.People may become subdued or withdrawn — especially in socially challenging situations — or show uncharacteristic irritability or anger. Decreased attention span and reduced motivation to complete tasks also are common. Difficulty organizing and expressing thoughts. Getting lost or misplacing belongings. Confusion of where things belong is possible (e.g. may put a towel in the fridge) Early stage Alzheimer’s and home care services Families with loved ones in early stage Alzheimer’s...
How can we Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

How can we Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

We can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that Alzheimer’s disease starts altering the structure of the brain years or even decades before the first behavioral symptoms appear. During this “preclinical phase”, amyloid plaques are building up on neurons, but the load is not yet sufficient to kill neurons and cause memory or behavioral problems to appear. As worrying as this sounds, the flip side means that we have a “window of opportunity” to act in order to prevent or defer a diagnosis. Numerous studies have shown that it is in this mid-life preclinical phase that our actions matter most, before the long term accumulation of plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Risk factors for dementia Age is the number one risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease: the older you get, the greater your chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Genetics are also a factor: a gene variant known as APOE-e4 is thought to play a role in up to one quarter of Alzheimer’s cases. We can’t control our age or our genes; but there are other established risk factors that we can control. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity all increase a person’s chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These are ‘modifiable factors’, that is, conditions that are within our power to change or modify. It is no coincidence that the Alzheimer’s risk factors listed above also contribute to cardiovascular disease. Our brain function relies heavily upon healthy blood vessels and hormone balance. As we shall see in this article, these modifiable risk factors are often linked (one causes another), and so taking action to reduce one of them will have a positive...
Costs of Care, Part 3: How to pay for Care

Costs of Care, Part 3: How to pay for Care

How to Pay for care This is the third post in a three-part series on the costs of senior care. In the first post, we looked at the various options available to seniors: retirement homes, assisted living, long term care (LTC) homes, and in-home caregiving. In the second post, we took a more in-depth look at how much these different options cost. In this third post, we discuss the ways in which elderly care can be funded. Savings and Investments Of course, the logical answer to how to pay the costs of long term care for our parents, spouses and ourselves is to use savings and liquidate our investments.  If you have them, or have any left after retirement while entering your ‘disability years’ (see the first post in this series), then that may be used up first to fund the cost of care. How to pay for care: The family home At the time of writing this post, the Canadian housing market is still strong, and house prices are favourable to consider using the equity in a home to fund the costs of long term care for elderly loved ones. If your parents own a home, the home can be sold and the money used to pay for your parents’ care. Parents can downsize into an apartment, or move to a retirement home or LTC facility. If staying in their own home is important to your parents, they can directly draw on the equity in their home to pay the costs of home care. The two most popular options used right now are the Home Equity Line of...
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