Per 2023 estimates, 6.7 million adults have Alzheimer’s disease. The earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to get legal paperwork completed and filed. It’s also an important time to get your mom used to the idea of having a caregiver around to help out. Start small with caregivers helping your mom with weekly laundry or housework. The goal is to get her used to working with Alzheimer’s care now so that people coming into her home isn’t as alarming in the mid to late stages of Alzheimer’s.
How do you know if your mom has Alzheimer’s? What are the early warning signs, and what should you do if you suspect she has this type of dementia?
The Different Stages of Alzheimer’s
The first stage of Alzheimer’s isn’t noticeable. Changes occur in the brain for upwards of 15 years before noticeable symptoms begin to appear. The first noticeable sign is forgetfulness, and that’s easy to write off as typical aging, menopausal brain fog, or even COVID brain fog.
- Stage 3 is more noticeable with your mom forgetting that she read a book. You may find she purchases two or three copies of the same book because she doesn’t recognize she’s already purchased and read it. She might make an appointment for a haircut and not remember at all.
- Stage 4 is where it’s hard to deny that something is wrong. Your mom may start experiencing insomnia or forgets something is cooking. She leaves the house for a walk and doesn’t recognize where she is and gets lost easily. She can’t tell what month or day it is. She may also struggle with seasons and what she should wear.
- At stage 5, the need for help is apparent. Delusions and hallucinations are common. You might find your mom starts hiding things like her purse, food, and jewelry because she’s convinced others are trying to steal them.
- Severe symptoms start with stage 6, and it’s clear Alzheimer’s care services are necessary. Your mom is going to find it hard to take care of herself. She’ll need help with oral care, showering, and incontinence is common. If she talks at all, it’s usually nonsensical strings of sounds and words.
- This leads to stage 7 when your mom will likely become bedridden or need a wheelchair. She may require sponge baths and won’t be able to swallow. Aspiration pneumonia is a risk.
Don’t Burnout Taking Care of Your Mom
Arrange Alzheimer’s care before you’ve burned out and feel that you just can’t continue. It’s not a failure. Self-care is essential, and you have to put yourself first. An Alzheimer’s care aide will help your mom, which enables you to focus on taking care of yourself.
One in four family caregivers helping a parent with Alzheimer’s are also caring for children at home. These sandwich-generation caregivers are typically also employed full-time and carry a lot of extra stress as they balance work, family, and friends. It can get overwhelming.
Return to your mom’s side ready to spend quality time together and stop worrying about finding time to help your mom with feeding, grooming, hygiene, sundowning, and the other more challenging aspects of Alzheimer’s care.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Alzheimer’s Care in Glenview, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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