According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “an estimated 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older [were] living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021.” This number is expected to grow to 12.7 million by the year 2050.
Even though there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, researchers have come a long way since dementia was first discovered. This information and education help individuals and families navigate the disease, manage its symptoms, and find care and support.
Knowledge is power, and as a provider of Alzheimer’s and memory care in San Antonio, Texas, Franklin Park® Senior Living wants to share its knowledge. In this article, we are sharing the ABCs of Alzheimer’s disease and care.
A is for Awareness
Awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias has increased over the years, but it is not enough to be aware of the condition. It is also essential to be mindful of the risk factors and early signs and symptoms that could indicate its onset.
By understanding your or your loved one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as knowing what symptoms to look out for, you are more likely to notice and seek a diagnosis sooner rather than later – a key component of delaying the progression of dementia.
Understanding the Risk Factors
Certain factors can increase an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. But, as with many health conditions, not all factors are within our control.
Uncontrollable risk factors include:
- Increasing Age – While this is the most significant known risk factor, growing older does not automatically mean that an individual will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is not a normal part of aging, but “after age 65, the risk of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years.”
- Family History – Those who have a direct family member with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia have an increased risk of developing the disease themselves.
- Gender – According to the Alzheimer’s Society, “there are about twice as many women as men over 65 with Alzheimer’s disease.” While the exact reasoning for this is unknown, a possible explanation could be linked to the loss of the estrogen hormone after menopause.
The good news is that there are risk factors that you or your loved one can control to decrease risk or delay the onset of the disease. These controllable risk factors include:
- Lifestyle – The best thing a person can do to protect their cognitive health is to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
- Managing Chronic Health Conditions – High blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and heart problems can increase an individual’s risk of developing dementia. It is important to manage these health conditions to protect cognitive health and decrease the chance of developing other health issues.
Knowing the Early Signs and Symptoms
Even though Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect each person differently, there are common signs that could indicate the onset of the condition.
The National Institute on Aging shares that these common early symptoms may include:
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
- Taking longer to complete routine daily tasks
- Repeating questions
- Wandering and getting lost
- Losing things or misplacing them in odd places
- Mood and personality changes
- Increased anxiety and/or aggression
B is for Brain Health
One of the best things you or your loved one can do to delay the onset or progression of Alzheimer’s disease is to support your brain health. You can do this by staying socially active, consuming a brain-healthy diet, and participating in activities that keep your mind engaged.
If you would like to learn what types of activities can keep your mind active and agile, download our free guide!
C is for Care
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a form of dementia, Alzheimer’s care can go a long way in delaying the progression of the disease and helping individuals lead an engaging and fulfilling life.
At Franklin Park Senior Living®, our Alzheimer’s and memory care communities in San Antonio, Texas, provide a compassionate memory care program called Refreshing Waters®. We offer person-centered care combined with meaningful lifestyle activity programs to provide those with memory loss the best quality of life.
Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia does not mean a person can’t continue to lead a purposeful life. With the right care and support, they can continue connecting with others, emphasizing their strengths, and creating new memories.
To learn more about our memory care communities throughout San Antonio and our Refreshing Waters® program, we invite you to visit our website.