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What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

What you should know about your loved one's Alzheimer's disease

Your parent has taken care of you throughout your entire life. You look up to them, you’ve learned from them and they’re the person you turn to when you need help. That’s why it can be incredibly shocking and emotional to see their health decline as they age. What’s worse is memory loss or other worrisome behavioral changes that go beyond normal aging.

If your parent has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you may feel confused and unsure about how this will impact your loved one’s health and behavior as time passes. It might help to familiarize yourself with Alzheimer’s disease so that you can better understand what your parent is experiencing and help them get the care they need.

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that affects your loved one’s memory, thinking and overall behavior. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses through its three different stages, the symptoms will eventually grow severe enough to interfere with your loved one’s daily tasks and activities.

Alzheimer’s disease currently does not have a cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues every day. Although these treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’sdiseaseall together, theycan temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and help improve the quality of life for those that live with the disease.

Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses in three main stages:early, middle and late. Each stage brings on new and worsening symptoms that can vary based on the individual.

1. Early Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

In this initial stage,your loved one may be unaware that they are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms they experience are commonly associated with natural aging and can go undetected. During this early stage, your lovedonemay still function independently and still do normal activitieslike drive, work and participate in social events.

Some symptoms your loved onemay experience in thisearly stage include:

  • Difficulty remembering people’s names
  • Forgetting information they just read
  • Losing or misplacing personal items
  • Trouble organizing or planning things out

2. Middle Stage Alzheimer's Disease

This is typically the longest stage where your loved one’s symptoms will become more pronounced and they’ll require additional care and attention.It’s during this stage that your loved one’s brain will undergo damage to its nerve cells, making it difficult for your parent to perform simple tasks by themselves and express their thoughts and feelings like they used to.

While in this stage, your loved one will likely still be able to take part in some normal daily activities, but they’ll require assistance. You’ll also find that your loved one is:

  • Confusing words
  • Unable to recall information about themselves
  • In need ofassistance with daily tasks
  • Beginning to wander or get lost when they go out
  • Experiencing personality changes like compulsions or delusions

3. Late Stage Alzheimer's Disease

In the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia symptoms are severe and very apparent.It is in this stage that your loved one will lose their ability to carry on normal conversations and control their movements. Your loved one may still be able to say certain words or phrases, but they will have a very hard time communicating properly. As the disease progresses and your loved one’s cognitive skills worsen, they will require full-time, dedicated care.

During this final stage, yourloved one may:

  • Lose their ability to carry on a conversation
  • Be unable to respond to their surrounding environment
  • Experience difficulty communicating
  • Require around-the-clock care and assistance
  • Experience changes in physical abilities like walking or sitting

This final stage is the most difficultand heartbreakingfor caregivers like yourself. Fortunately, services like Knute Nelson’s memory care and hospice programs can provide the loving care and support both your parent and your family need during this time. No matter what stage your loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease is in, we work to improve their quality of life and can help you enjoy your time with them as much as possible.

Experience Compassionate Care at Knute Nelson Senior Living

At Knute Nelson, our memory care community is designed to meet all of the emotional and spiritual needs of residents living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other forms of memory impairments.

As your loved one’s disease progresses, they may benefit from our hospice care option. Our compassionatehospice team is here for you and your family. We understand how difficult the transition into hospice care can be, and our team works together to provide the best quality of care possible to your loved one.

We invite you to learn more about our memory care and hospice services. Contact us today by filling out this form or by calling us directly at 320-763-6653 to learn more about what our community can offer your loved one and family.