Dementia is a term that can be used to describe a number of conditions which affect the cells of the brain. These conditions cause the brain to function abnormally, which leads to behavior issues and the inability to think clearly. Alzheimer’s is just one of these conditions, and is known to affect one in eight people over the age of 65 living in the United States.
Learning that your parent has developed Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia can be devastating news, however it can be comforting to learn that there is plenty of help and support out there for individuals with this disabling condition.
Ways to Help the Recently Diagnosed
One of the best ways to help your elderly parents who have recently been diagnosed with some form of dementia is to provide them with all the support that you can. Be present during routine doctor visits in order to find out about the latest forms of treatment. While no medication currently exists to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s, there are two types of medication which have been approved by the FDA that can help to lessen the symptoms for up to three years. These prescription medications are Namenda, which is an N-methyl D-aspartate antagonist, and cholinesterase inhibitors which include Aricept, Razadyne, and Exelon.
Exercise Encourages a Positive Attitude and Well-Being
Many experts suggest that daily exercise for individuals who are able can be a powerful antidote for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Any type of daily activity such as light cleaning or cooking, can help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Some suggest that walking for at least 40 minutes each day can help seniors reduce the risk of brain shrinkage.
Care for your Loved Ones and Yourself with Support Groups
Caring for an elderly parent with Dementia can be a very difficult task to take on. While it is rewarding to make sure that those you love are well taken care of, it can also be physically and emotionally draining for the caregiver. The Alzheimer’s Association (http://www.alz.org/) offers plenty of resources for caregivers and loved ones so that they can receive support in their local area. There are message boards, blogs and helpful resources that can help lighten the load and make daily care much easier for everyone involved. Visitors to the website can also learn how to join a support group in their local area, as well as find out what community resources are available.
With more seniors getting diagnosed with some form of dementia each day, more children are taking on the responsibility of being a full-time caregiver. If you have found yourself in this situation, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone and help is available both online and within your local community.