Keeping the Memories Alive: How to Help Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive condition that impacts the brain cells, causing them to break down and create problems with cognitive functions. Once the disease begins, it is considered irreversible. While there is currently not a cure for the disease, different individuals may progress more slowly than others. Treatment methods such as medications and care programs can help slow the disease’s progression and provide family members with needed support.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

The early symptoms of Alzheimer’s can start with forgetting conversations or new information, including recent events. As the disease progresses, individuals may exhibit changes in their behavior, disorientation, more severe memory loss, the inability to recognize familiar people and places, and mood problems. Additional symptoms can include a loss of understanding what day it is, what year it is, and even where the person currently lives. Physical symptoms such as mobility loss and difficulties with talking or eating may surface.


Alzheimer’s Disease is considered a form of dementia and makes up 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases in the United States. Although the exact causes of the condition are still unknown, it is thought to be caused by plaque that builds up in the brain. Changes to protein substances in the brain are also thought to play a role. Risk factors can include an individual’s DNA, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are also thought to increase a person’s risk, especially if that person has sustained multiple TBIs. Even repetitive mild TBIs or concussions can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease later in life.

Genetics or DNA can be a risk factor if a parent or sibling has developed the disease. While medical researchers have been able to identify a specific form of a gene that increases a person’s risk, not everyone who carries this variant goes on to develop Alzheimer’s. However, those with Down Syndrome are also at an increased genetic risk for developing the disease.

The risk for developing Alzheimer’s is known to increase with age and also if a person has mild cognitive impairments. These impairments represent a marked decline in thinking skills and memory that are not characteristic for the person’s age but are not severe enough to prevent the individual from working and functioning in society. Lifestyle-related factors such as poor sleep patterns, obesity, smoking, being sedentary, having high blood pressure and cholesterol, and type two diabetes all increase one’s risk.


Treating patients with Alzheimer’s Disease will depend on the stage of the condition and the symptoms. Various methods can include managing other conditions that coincide with Alzheimer’s, keeping the person active in groups and social settings, day-care programs and activity programs, support groups, and services. Medications may be used to help manage and reduce symptoms, while therapy and care programs often become necessary as the disease progresses. Twenty-four-hour care is needed for those in the later stages. Find more available at

Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease can be a concern to both the patient and the patient’s loved ones. Although the disease is not preventable, support can be offered to the individual as he or she progresses through the disease’s stages. Support can also be offered to family members and caregivers responsible for the person’s well-being. Both in-home and facility options can help provide care for Alzheimer’s patients.

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