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During National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Regency Retirement Village of Jackson is actively promoting awareness of the disease and its symptoms.

In November, the spotlight shifts to Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a crucial period in raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. More than 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, with most cases impacting adults age 75 or older. With so many people around the globe affected by the disease, activists have dedicated the month of November to Alzheimer’s education and advocacy.

Regency Retirement Village of Jackson recognizes the importance of Alzheimer’s awareness not just in November but throughout the year. Many of our dear residents struggle with the disease or other forms of dementia. We have a special interest in raising awareness of Alzheimer’s and providing education about the disease because of our relationships with these residents and their families.

So, to honor Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we’ve shared some facts and figures about Alzheimer’s in this blog. We hope that learning about the causes, symptoms, and potential treatments of Alzheimer’s will empower you to stay on top of your health and encourage friends and family to do the same.

Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that impacts memory, cognition, and daily activities. Its onset, marked by short memory lapses, progresses into severe mental, physical, and behavioral challenges. Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s is not a natural part of aging, and currently, no cure exists.

Alzheimer’s inflicts damage on memory, movement, thinking, and language-linked areas of the brain. These brain areas are damaged by abnormal plaques and tangles in the brain, called amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary. Damage can also occur between brain cells. As the condition progresses, more damage occurs in the brain and the symptoms of the disease worsen.

Researchers aren’t completely sure how Alzheimer’s starts, but many believe it is caused by the buildup of misfolded proteins between brain cells. These proteins eventually cause damage to the surrounding brain tissue, affecting the patient’s thinking, memory, behavior and more.

What Are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Educating the public about the symptoms and signs of the condition is one of the main goals of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Knowing what Alzheimer’s disease looks like and how it affects a person is crucial for early detection. Early detection can significantly improve the patient’s prognosis and quality of life. The sooner Alzheimer’s disease is detected, the sooner a person can begin treatment.

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a condition that frequently evolves into Alzheimer’s Disease, albeit with milder memory and cognition issues than Alzheimer’s. Individuals with MCI can usually manage their daily activities, but they are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It is crucial to monitor symptoms under the guidance of a medical professional to assess whether they are improving or progressing. This monitoring aids in the formulation of a care plan to address the condition effectively.

Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment:

  • Frequently losing items
  • Forgetting appointments or significant events
  • Difficulty finding words

While occasional memory lapses are normal in healthy aging individuals, persistent instances may indicate mild cognitive impairment. It’s expected to misplace glasses or forget to pay a bill occasionally, but heightened forgetfulness warrants a visit to the doctor.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease:
In Alzheimer’s disease, MCI symptoms are more pronounced, and additional manifestations typically arise.

  • Frequently losing items
  • Forgetting appointments or significant events
  • Difficulty finding words
  • Repeating questions or stories
  • Difficulty engaging in conversations
  • Challenges in reading or writing
  • Problems handling payments and money
  • Difficulty with daily activities
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia

As symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary among individuals, it is essential to monitor any changes over time. This ongoing observation helps doctors gauge the individual’s baseline functioning, aiding in the assessment of symptom progression.

Managing and Treating Alzheimer’s Symptoms

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, various prescriptions are available to aid in symptom management or potentially treat the disease itself. Typically, FDA-approved treatments for Alzheimer’s are most effective during the early or middle stages of the condition.

Cholinesterase inhibitors, among other medications, are frequently prescribed for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s symptoms. These drugs play a crucial role in controlling cognitive decline and may also alleviate behavioral symptoms associated with the disease. Additionally, there are emerging immunotherapy treatments designed to target the amyloid plaques in the brain, a key characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. These treatments show promise as they can reduce plaque size and potentially slow down the disease’s progression, although they are still undergoing testing.

In addition to pharmaceutical approaches, alternative methods for managing symptoms involve activities that promote cognitive functioning. Engaging in puzzles, creative endeavors like writing or painting, and participating in group social activities can activate memory and help maintain current levels of cognition. At Regency Jackson, our Memory Care staff actively organizes such activities for residents with dementia disorders or Alzheimer’s Disease, aiming to mitigate memory loss.

The Importance of Year-Round Alzheimer’s Awareness

Due to the sheer number of families affected by the disease each year, it is critical for awareness to continue past Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. While there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, more treatments are showing positive effects and being approved for treatment. The more we understand about Alzheimer’s symptoms, the more likely we are to detect the disease early and seek treatments that can improve quality of life.

At Regency Retirement Village of Jackson, we hold a year-round commitment to Alzheimer’s Awareness for our residents, their families, and the community we’ve created here. By increasing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease year-round, we can encourage early detection, which can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s. Regular cognitive assessments and awareness initiatives can contribute to timely detection, leading to better care and support.

Continuous education is also vital in fostering a compassionate and informed community. We educate ourselves and others about Alzheimer’s by sharing resources, organizing workshops, and engaging in discussions to increase understanding and reduce the stigma associated with the disease.

Supporting caregivers is another crucial aspect. Caregivers play a vital role in the lives of individuals with Alzheimer’s and offering support, resources, and respite care year-round can help them manage the challenges they face and provide better care for their loved ones. Additionally, we are ready to work with caregivers if and when they decide their loved one needs more specialized, supportive care in our community.

We hope this information has helped you understand what Alzheimer’s disease is and how it affects millions of people worldwide. Our goal in sharing this information is to raise awareness for those affected by the disease and their family members. The more we know about Alzheimer’s and other dementia disorders, the better we can manage symptoms and seek effective treatment options.

If you or a loved one have any questions regarding Alzheimer’s disease or our Memory Care facility, please contact us. We are dedicated to supporting families like yours through the aging process, and our mission is to help families make the best care choices for their loved ones. Take an opportunity this National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month to share this blog or other informative resources on the disease so we can all be more empowered to take charge of our health journeys.