Google Rating

During National Alzheimer's Awareness Month, Regency Retirement Village of Tuscaloosa is actively increasing awareness about the disease and its associated symptoms.

In November, the spotlight shifts to Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a period for 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 world affected by the disease, activists have dedicated the month of November to Alzheimer’s education and advocacy.

Regency Retirement Village of Tuscaloosa 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.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that affects memory, thinking and the ability to perform everyday activities. The disease begins with short lapses in memory and eventually leads to more serious mental, physical, and behavioral issues. It is not a part of healthy aging, and there is no known cure for the disease yet.

In the brain, Alzheimer’s damages areas linked to memory, movement, thinking, and language. These brain areas are damaged by abnormal plaques and tangles in the brain, called amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary. Damage between brain cells can occur as well. As the condition causes more damage to the brain, symptoms become worse.

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

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.

Symptom Management and Treatment

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are several prescription drugs available to help manage the disease’s symptoms or even treat the disease itself. In most cases, FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments work best for those in the early or middle stages of the disease.

Medicines like cholinesterase inhibitors are often prescribed for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s symptoms. They help control cognitive decline and can even help mitigate behavioral symptoms that arise from the condition. Additionally, there are immunotherapy treatments becoming available that target the amyloid plaques in the brain caused by Alzheimer’s disease. These methods are promising, because they reduce the size of the plaques and can potentially slow the progression of the disease. However, these medications are still being tested.

Other methods of symptom management include activities that encourage cognitive functioning. Puzzles, creative projects such as writing or painting, and group social activities can help activate memory and maintain current levels of cognition. At Regency Tuscaloosa, our Memory Care staff organizes these types of activities for residents with dementia disorders or Alzheimer’s Disease to help reduce 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 Tuscaloosa, 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.