Alzheimer's disease destroys your memory and affects other mental functions at the same time. The early symptoms of this progressive disease are difficulty in remembering things and mild confusion. At last, patients forget about important events and people in their lives. People with Alzheimer's disease experience degeneration of brain cells that causes a steady decline in mental function.
What Is the Life Expectancy of Alzheimer?
The average life expectancy is 8-10 years. In some cases, the life expectancy can be as long as 20 years or as short as three years. Many factors can affect the Alzheimer's life expectancy.
- Gender: Studies show that women are more likely to live longer as compared to men, as the average life expectancy is four years for men and six years for women.
- Age at diagnosis: When you get diagnosed with Alzheimer's may also have an impact on overall life expectancy. You are likely to live longer when you are diagnosed in your 70s as compared to those who are diagnosed after 85.
- Severity of symptoms: The severity of your symptoms will also affect Alzheimer's life expectancy. If you are over 85 and have trouble walking, you are probably going to have a shorter life expectancy. Similarly, the presence of spinal cord and brain abnormalities is probably going to shorten the length of life. What's more, people with a history of heart attack or diabetes are more likely to have a shorter life span as compared to people who do not have these complications with Alzheimer's disease.
What Treatment Is Available and What Can Be Achieved By Treatment?
Unfortunately, there is no treatment available to prevent the progression of the disease. With time, the symptoms become severe, affecting the brain and body. It is also unclear if treatment can improve Alzheimer's life expectancy. Still, it is important to seek medical assistance and hope for the best results. Some of the most common treatment options include the following:
- Medications: The breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine affects memory, but certain drugs may help slow down the breakdown in the brain to slow down the progression to some extent. The most common medications are galantamine, donepezil, and rivastigmine.
- Managing behavioral symptoms: Some medicines may help improve behavioral symptom of the disease. These symptoms are agitation, sleeplessness, anger, anxiety, wandering, and depression. The treatment of these symptoms may make things more manageable for people with Alzheimer's disease.
Tips for Patients with Alzheimer
Keeping certain tips in mind will help make things more manageable. For instance:
- Keep a diary with you and make a habit of writing everything you want to remember.
- Make a timetable and pin it to the wall.
- Always leave your keys in an obvious place to avoid forgetting it.
- Put labels on all your drawers and cupboards.
- Store important people's names in a cell phone.
- Keep an alarm watch with you and set the alarm for reminders.
- Utilize safety devices such as gas detectors.
How to Take Care of People with Alzheimer
If you have someone in your home with Alzheimer's disease, you will have to take some steps to take right care of them. Here are a few suggestions to handle things better.
1. Manage Frustrations
It is never easy to be around someone with Alzheimer's, so you are likely to feel agitated some time. You have to learn to schedule everything wisely to make it easier for the patient to handle day-to-day tasks. Do not try to push things or impose anything on someone with the disease. Understand that things are going to take longer than they used to. Be patient and help them learn how to handle basic tasks. Pay special attention to providing simple instructions to people with the disease, and try to reduce distractions such as turning TVs off to make things work.
2. Be Flexible
Understand that someone with dementia is going to become more dependent as the disease progresses. Just try to be patient and stay as flexible as you can. You can always make some wise choices to help the patient. In case they insist on wearing the same outfit, do not say no. Instead, buy a few identical outfits to settle the issue.
3. Create and Maintain a Safe Environment
A person suffering from Alzheimer's disease is going to lose problem-solving skills over time. The disease also impairs judgment, which puts the patient at a greater risk of injury. You should avoid extension cords, scatter rugs, and any clutter that may cause the patient to fall. Installing handrails, using locks on cabinets that contain alcohol, guns, etc., and taking fire safety precautions will help create a safer environment when you have someone with Alzheimer's in your home.
4. Offer Individualized Care
Just like Alzheimer's life expectancy is different for different people, the symptoms will also vary from person to person. Your focus should be on individualized care because you will always have to change care-giving techniques to make it more suitable for your loved one.