Find answers to common questions about Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive health.
June is designated as Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, something that is near and dear to our hearts at SYNERGY HomeCare.
Because we care for so many seniors struggling with cognitive concerns, we’re pleased to have formed a team to participate in this year’s walk to raise awareness. At SYNERGY HomeCare, we follow IDPH guidelines, which require a memory training program to be able to provide care for Alzheimer’s patients. This requires a program director and any caregiver supporting an Alzheimer’s client to go through additional, specialized training to provide that level of support.
We’ve also put together some of the most common questions we receive about cognitive health and their corresponding answers, to help family members better understand how to help a loved one with dementia.
- What is the cause of Alzheimer’s disease?
While researchers haven’t yet pinpointed exactly what causes Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, contributing factors may include chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, poor diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices, genetics, and a lack of socialization.
- What’s the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Think of dementia as the symptom, and Alzheimer’s as the cause of that symptom. In essence, someone can have dementia without it being Alzheimer’s disease, such as the dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease, a head injury, a stroke or vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia or Lewy body disease. Certain types of dementia can be reversible, but the majority are degenerative and will become progressively worse over time.
- How is Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed?
Currently, only an autopsy can definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. However, physicians can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s about 90 percent of the time based on mental, behavioral, and cognitive health symptoms, a physical evaluation, blood tests, urinalysis and neuropsychological tests.
- Is there a cure available for Alzheimer’s disease?
Unfortunately, there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which is why it’s so important to us to support research and awareness efforts. There are, however, medications that can help to ease some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, including depression, aggression, and hallucinations. Some medications, however, can react negatively with other Alzheimer’s medications or even worsen other symptoms of the disease. It is crucial to go over the best medication plan with your loved one’s doctor. In addition, some Alzheimer’s symptoms result from non-medical triggers that can often be managed without medication. If a particular trigger can be identified, the environment can be modified to change the behavior. These triggers can include fatigue, an overstimulating environment, or boredom, just to name a few. Try using a quiet, calming tone of voice, encouraging time to rest, or introducing meaningful and engaging activities, such as music, art, or ability-appropriate help with a household chore.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and find help for cognitive health issues from the Alzheimer’s Association.
As the leading provider of dementia home care in Chicago, IL, our dementia care experts are always here to answer your questions, offer you helpful resources, and support someone you love with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive health concerns in living his or her best possible life. Our home care services are personalized according to each person’s unique needs, from just a few hours each week to allow family members to take a break, up through and including full-time, around-the-clock care.