One important aspect to being a family caregiver to an older adult is to learn as much as you can about their medical conditions. In the case of a senior who has Alzheimer’s disease, that can mean having a lot to learn. It can be hard to know where to start your informal education. One good place to start is the beginning—what causes the disease.
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
Experts believe that there isn’t a single cause to Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, they think it is caused by a combination of things, including genetics, a person’s lifestyle, and environmental factors. Exactly what makes Alzheimer’s develop is unknown. Doctors do know that it starts when proteins in the brain don’t work the way they should. This makes brain cells stop working the way they should. The result is damage to neurons, causing connections in the brain to break down.
The processes that lead to Alzheimer’s disease begin way before the first symptoms appear. Usually, the damage to the brain begins in the part of the brain that deals with memory. The disease is progressive, meaning the damage to the brain spreads, causing it to shrink.
Although the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t completely understood, doctors have identified some risk factors for the disease.
Age: Even though Alzheimer’s disease isn’t a natural part of getting older, it is more likely to happen with increased age. In fact, age is the largest risk factor for the disease.
Family History: People who have a close relative with the disease, like a parent or sibling, are at a slightly higher risk for developing the disease.
Gender: More women tend to have Alzheimer’s than men, but experts say that may simply be because women usually live longer.
Head Injury: Having a head injury in the past are at greater risk.
Lifestyle: Alzheimer’s shares risk factors with heart disease, so people who are overweight, have high blood pressure, don’t exercise, and have type 2 diabetes that is not controlled well are at risk.
Mental and Social Stimulation: Research indicates that people who stay socially engaged and engage in learning opportunities throughout their life are at reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
The more you learn about Alzheimer’s disease, the more you may realize that it’s a condition that takes a lot of work. Family caregivers often find that they cannot manage the older adult’s care on their own, especially when the person reaches the late stages. Homecare is an excellent resource for the help families often need. Homecare providers can stay with your aging relative while family caregivers work or attend to other responsibilities. Homecare providers can ensure your loved one stays safe, comfortable, and happy while you are away.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Naples FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.