Alzheimer’s disease is one of the hardest diagnoses to hear–both as a patient and as a family member. There’s no cure for this disease, and it is marked by a slow and steady decline of both mental and physical functions. The disease is accompanied by frustration, anger, and a lot of other negative emotions. It is hard to experience these things, and it is just as hard for a family member to witness someone that they love going through them.
A new study published in the Journal of Gerontology indicates that the impact that Alzheimer’s has may be starting to diminish. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in general is not manifesting itself until later in life. The end result is that fewer people are suffering from this disease for long, extended periods of time. The disease still has a horrible impact on people, but researchers view this new finding as a positive one. It shows that the disease is starting to loosen its grip on people. The evidence to support this claim was taken from the Framingham Heart Study.
One of the key takeaways from this new research is that people are living healthier lives for longer. The causes of dementia are not fully understood, but the fact that people are not developing Alzheimer’s until later in life could be an indicator that healthier habits and more awareness of these things is helping people to maintain better mental health for longer periods of time. It was also posited that because strokes are a major predictor of dementia that the decrease in strokes amongst the elderly has helped to prevent more cases of dementia. 30 years ago, a stroke increased your likelihood of developing dementia to 90 percent. Today, that risk stands at 40 percent. Of course, more research is needed in this area to fully understand the relationship.
The fact that people with Alzheimer’s are not living for as long may be attributed to the development of the disease at that later age, but this link is still not one hundred percent clear. Still, these trends are important to be aware of because they help us as family members to plan ahead with a slightly better vision of what the future might hold for a family member if they do develop Alzheimer’s. Hearing that a loved one has this disease will never be easy, but better information can help us to make better decisions regarding their senior care.
In general, choosing the right senior care for a loved one can be one of the hardest choices that you will ever need to make as a family member. It doesn’t always need to be this way. Having a clear understanding of what your mom or dad’s needs are before you begin the care search will help you to immediately know which types of care will be helpful for them, and which should be avoided. Taking this information and then looking at what is available in your community will narrow down your search for the best care dramatically. This is just one step forward, but it can help eliminate a lot of the stress that the search for care can breed.