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Understanding Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Finding the best care for our older family members can make a huge difference in both of our lives. There are many reasons why seniors need to be accompanied by the proper partners especially those who have Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Many seniors sustain serious injuries, such as a cervical or hip fracture, from a common trip-and-fall accident in the home, a misstep on a curb, or a loss of balance bending over or reaching up for something. The patient with Alzheimer’s and Dementia requires intensive physical care as well as almost constant supervision to keep him from hurting himself.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition, which means the symptoms develop gradually over many years and eventually become more severe. It affects multiple brain functions.

The following disease often results the following behaviors:

  • Impaired memory, thinking, and behavior
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Personality and behavior changes
  • Impaired judgement
  • Impaired communication
  • Inability to follow directions
  • Language deterioration
  • Impaired thought processes that involve visual and spatial awareness
  • Emotional apathy

It is not a single disease; it’s an overall term — like heart disease — that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Disorders grouped under the general term “dementia” are caused by abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings, and relationships.


  1. Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease. Learn about its effects and how to respond.
  2. Stay in touch. A card, a call, or a visit means a lot and shows you care.
  3. Be patient. Adjusting to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is an ongoing process; each person reacts differently.
  4. Offer a shoulder to lean on. The disease can create stress for the entire family. Simply offering your support and friendship is helpful.
  5. Engage the person with dementia in conversation. It’s important to involve the person in conversation even when his or her ability to participate becomes more limited.
  6. Offer to help the family with its to-do list. Prepare a meal, run an errand, or provide a ride.
  7. Engage family members in activities. Invite them to take a walk or participate in other activities.
  8. Offer family members a reprieve. Spend time with the person living with dementia so family members can go out alone or visit with friends.
  9. Be flexible. Don’t get frustrated if your offer of support is not accepted immediately. The family may need time to assess its needs.
  10. Support the Alzheimer’s cause.