Alzheimer's And Dementia Levels

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The Alzheimer's Association estimates that as many as 5 million Americans (or 1.5 % of the population) have some level of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is a brutal disease that destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior. In the advanced stages, the damage is severe enough to affect basic tasks like eating and talking. Alzheimer's gets worse over time, and it is eventually fatal. Today Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Alzheimer's currently has no cure but there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease. Therefore, it is critical that seniors with signs of Alzheimer's get quality periodic medical supervision.

Although Alzheimer's disease is 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases, there several other types of dementia that affect seniors. These include:

  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies
  • Mixed Dementia
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

The advanced stages of these forms of dementia may require seniors to live in a special dementia care facility. Dementia tends to start slow but then accelerate rapidly. Life in an dementia care center can not be compared with other senior living options. The facilities are design more for the safety of the residents than the standard of living. Since Dementia patents become easily disoriented, many facilities have very simple single floor plans. Since cooking involves too many hazards, it is not allowed in dementia centers. One of the biggest hazards for dementia patients is getting lost or wandering off. For this reason, all the exterior doors at the facility are usually secure. Some facilities also have a secure (locked) outdoor area and bracelets that activate an alarm if they leave the area. Some residents feel like they are in a prison but there is currently no better option.

Unlike Alzheimer's Care and assisted living, planned activities focus on rehabilitation and prevention of deterioration. Many facilities have special memory care programs designed to slow the disease. This treatment is the main activity in a dementia care center.

For the early stages of dementia, assisted living can be a much better option. Assisted Living allows for a much more enjoyable and active life. If you find a facility or group of facilities that offer both assisted living and dementia care, then it can be an easier transition between the two facilities. Once someone moves into an dementia care facility, they rarely move out to another facility.

One concern with dementia care centers is abuse. Many resident can not remember to complain to their family. Other residents may be paranoid and complain about everything. This can make it hard to know if they are getting the care they need. For this reason, frequent visits by friends and family are critical and the location of the facility is especially important. Use our advanced search and enter your home address to find the nearest facilities. If you can find a facility within a few miles of your home, you will be more likely to visit often. A family advocate that can review the care and request appropriate changes is priceless. You may also want to speak to your local Ombudsmen. Currently, they are one of the best unbiased resources for learning about a specific facility. You can find their number on our senior services page (for each state).

Because Alzheimer's care centers are usually only build in larger metro area, we have created summary page for the following cities: