Alzheimer’s disease affects 1 out of every 8 people in the United States. It is a long and debilitating disease that affects every aspect of a person’s life from the way they preform daily tasks, to the physical and mental abilities that are diminishing. Along with the lifestyle changes that Alzheimer’s disease presents, it also affects one’s psychological perspective as well their view on what they can offer their family and society. There are some ways to maintain a level of independence with a disease of this magnitude but there are also factors in lifestyle choices that can make it worse. Alzheimer cannot be cured, it cannot be slowed, but there are ways to keep the effected person at a certain level of comfort, independence and safety that is relevant to their survival, emotionally and physically.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that destroys certain functions of the brain such as memory and thinking abilities. Alzheimer’s usually affects those who are 60 years and older but has been known to occur sooner, it is thought of as an elderly disease. Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is not the same as being diagnosed with cancer or other physically sickening diseases because it takes many years and several stages to reach its full intent.
There are four stages of the Alzheimer’s disease ranging from simple forgetfulness in the beginning stages to being completely dependent on a caregiver to fulfill even the most basic needs, these symptoms are a result of amyloid plaques and neuro fibrillary tangles in the brain. Basically AD cause the brain to shrivel up and die (NIA, 2012). There is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease or a way to test chemically for the disease, so doctor diagnose AD based on an evaluation of the patients cognitive skills related to their age. As of now, many scientists are trying to figure out the cause of AD and have performed studies that connect those with AD to their genetics. Another clue may be the effects the aging process has on the brain as it is harming the neurons in the brain causing the disease (NIA, 2012). Regardless of the cause, AD is a life altering disease in every aspect of the victim’s life.
When a person is diagnosed with AD many decisions need to be made to prepare a person for the inevitable changes that will happen in the next several years. Not all of these changes need to happen at once because that can be very overwhelming to an individual, but preparedness is always a good idea. In the first stages of the disease people can lead fairly normal lives. They may experience slight memory loss and have trouble carrying out simple tasks such as handling money and paying bills, remembering special events such as birthdays, appointments, or anniversaries, and they may also experience some mood and personality changes. In the beginning stages people will need to be supervised bit not as extensively as those who are in the middle stage.
In the next stages of AD, more genitive damage is...