Would life be better or worse if we could know a few years ahead of time that someone was going to develop Alzheimer’s disease? For the most part, senior care would be a lot better. Doctors and other members of the treatment team could begin measures designed to help slow the spread of the disease and essentially help someone add more years onto their life. These years would not be disease-free, but because the spread of the disease would be slower, they would be years that would belong to that person, and not to the battle against Alzheimer’s.
A new study out of the National Institute on Aging are reporting that a blood test may be able to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s in people who are showing early signs of dementia. This new approach is a lot less invasive and a lot cheaper than other methods that have been used to diagnose and predict the disease before more extensive symptoms are shown. Previous methods of diagnosing this disease have relied on testing spinal fluid, which can be a painful, invasive measure. It is very accurate, but because of the invasive nature of it, it was not used as widely as possible to help with early detection.
This newest method is a simple blood test. The individual will have a blood sample drawn and by measuring the levels of the ptau181 protein within the blood’s plasma, doctors have found that they are able to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease a little bit sooner than they were able to with previous methods. There’s still a long way to go when it comes to better methods of diagnosing the disease and doing so in an early manner, but this is a good step in that direction. Hopefully, it will lead to even more advances in the understanding of how Alzheimer’s develops and how it can be detected.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are ways that have been shown that can help to slow down the spread of the disease. Certain medical treatments, therapies, exercise, diet, and even solving puzzles have all been linked with helping to combat the disease as it grows in severity.
Having a care service lined up to help with the needs of someone with dementia is also helpful. As people with dementia age and their needs grow more severe, it becomes harder and harder for families to continue to provide help on their own.
Memory care is an essential component of senior care. It focuses on meeting the unique needs of those with dementia. Many senior care services are well equipped to provide this service, but not all. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia, ensuring that the caregiver you rely on has been trained in memory care. This is an extra precaution that you can take to make sure that the people you love are getting the care that they deserve.
And as always, please feel free to contact us with any questions. We’d love to help in any way we can.