Early-Onset vs Late-Onset Alzheimers
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition which affects over 6 millions American’s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s is diagnosed at an earlier age, typically in the 40 – 50 age bracket and is sometimes linked to a genetic condition. Late-onset Alzheimer’s is more common and affects most people after the age of 65. Doctors and scientists are still researching the causes of late-onset Alzheimer’s to better understand why people get it.
Diagnosis and Next Steps
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is a difficult time for most family members and caregivers. Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition where the patient’s health degenerates over time.Over the course of their condition, your loved one will require more intensive daily care and attention. Family members and caregivers have to decide next steps for supporting their loved one during this time.
Planning care and next steps are made easier when you consider:
- How the condition progresses
Symptoms of late-onset Alzheimer’s include the following:
- Memory Loss
- Forgetting daily tasks, events, and even people
- Unable to recall information like the date, or place
- Difficulty remembering family members or friends
- Disorganized thinking
- Find it challenging to complete multi-step tasks
- Impaired judgment
- Impulsive behaviors
- Misplace things easily
- Forget how to navigate familiar spaces
- Difficulty communicating
- Forget words and phrases
- Find reading and writing challenging due to limited recall ability
Alzheimer’s progresses across a scale of mild, to moderate, to severe. Mild refers to early-stages and severe to late-stages. The rate of progression depends on factors like underlying conditions or comorbidities, lifestyle, and access to care.
Late-onset Alzheimer’s progresses differently for every individual. If your loved one is diagnosed in the early or mild stages, it is easier to slow down the progress with interventions like full-time caregiving and lifestyle changes. A later or severe diagnosis is more challenging to adapt to and requires immediate caregiving assistance to provide support.
The main cause of rapid Alzheimer’s progression is a lack of intervention or care. Care is more than providing meals and helping with toileting or housekeeping. Thoughtful and helpful care is providing support at all levels to individuals with Alzheimer’s and their families.
Experienced caregivers monitor symptoms for changes and advocate for your loved one at their doctor’s appointment by sharing any new or worsening symptoms. They also engage your loved ones in social and intellectual activities to maintain their mental acuity as best as possible at each stage of their condition. Caregivers also prepare you for the next steps and the ripple effects of any changes in your loved one’s conditions. This helps you support your loved ones as they navigate life with Alzheimer’s.
Lifestyle is an important factor when your loved one is diagnosed with late-onset Alzheimer’s.
You need to consider the following:
- Living Independently
- Living on their own or far away from family is doable for active, and mobile seniors. However, late-onset Alzheimer’s can alter that very quickly. Becoming disoriented or confused makes driving and navigating familiar routes difficult. It can also be dangerous as the condition progresses. If your loved one lives on their own or far away from you, then it is necessary to consider what care will look like in this scenario.
- Daily Life
- Daily life can look very different for everyone. Some individuals are highly social and like to go out or interact with others in their communities. Others are very independent and like to do everything for themselves. Late-onset Alzheimer’s will drastically affect their ability to continue to do the things they like. It’s important to maintain as much of your loved-ones daily life and schedule as possible, but how that will happen is an important consideration of their safety and ability.
- Family Support
- Providing support to your loved-one as their condition progresses is a full-time job. From managing daily needs such as toileting, meals, hygiene, to taking them to doctors appointments and medication management. There are multiple and constant needs to fulfill. In today’s busy life where you have multiple responsibilities like your own family, work, children’s activities and community engagement – it is important to evaluate whether you will be able to provide the support your loved one needs.
Late-onset Alzheimer’s is becoming more common amongst seniors. Navigating this challenging news requires you to assess your loved-ones symptoms, condition, and lifestyle with care. It also requires you to look at your own life and responsibilities very honestly and see where and how you can provide support.
Understanding your loved one’s needs and accepting your ability to support them is key to a comprehensive care plan. These are challenging conversations but a practical approach ensures that your loved one will receive the care and support they need to live independently and with agency.
At Care Mountain, we have over a decade of experience providing in-home care and support for you or your loved ones. Our thorough and extensive hiring process ensures that we work with experienced caregivers who understand the multiple factors that affect late-onset Alzheimer’s.
Our experience also helps us provide a nuanced and personalized level of care throughout Dallas and Ft. Worth areas. Caregiving is a full-time requirement that most family members cannot provide on a part-time basis.
Care Mountain’s extensive network of in-home caregivers provide support across the Metroplex from Plano, Allen, McKinney, Preston Hollow, Dallas, Highland Park, Fort Worth, Southlake, to Arlington and many more. Contact us today to see how we can help provide support and 24/7 care to help you or your loved one navigate their journey of cancer care.