Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. It’s the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases.
The majority of Alzheimer’s patients are 65 years of age or older, but it doesn’t just affect older adults. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 200,000 people in the United States who are under the age of 65 also have early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms usually develop slowly and become more severe over time. The most common early symptom of the disease involves difficulty in remembering newly learned information. As the disease progresses, more severe symptoms may present that include disorientation, confusion about information, mood changes, behavior changes, unfound suspicions about known individuals, and even difficulty in walking, speaking, or swallowing.
While there’s currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s, treatments for symptoms are available.
At Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital, our specially-trained, interdisciplinary team works with Alzheimer’s patients and their families to help them maintain their abilities and independence for as long as possible. This in turn can help to decrease caregiver stress.
Depending upon the stage of the disease, we create individualized treatment plans with patients and family members, which can include:
• Physical Therapy: Focuses on improving balance, muscle strength and mobility; fall prevention
• Speech-Language Pathology: Focuses on cognitive and communication skills; swallowing difficulties
• Occupational Therapy: Focuses on daily living activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting
• Neuropsychology Counseling: Helps patients and family members adjust to emotional and physical changes
• Home Evaluations: Identifies necessary modifications to provide a safe home environment
• Family/Caregiver Education: Teaches caregivers about disease process and how to best help
• Community Resources: Provides patients and caregivers with educational resources, including respite care
For more information on Weslaco Regional Rehabilitation Hospital’s Alzheimer’s services, call 956-969-2222.
By: Juan Asuaje, MD