Alzheimer's disease is a common type of dementia, and affects an estimated 850,000 people in the UK. 62% of those with dementia have the disease in the form of Alzheimer's disease. Both Alzheimer's disease and dementia are progressive neurological diseases that affect multiple brain functions over a long period of time.
The first symptom of Alzheimer's disease is usually minor problems with memory. In some cases, this could be forgetting the names of people, places and items or being unable to remember recent events or conversations.
What causes Alzheimer's disease?
It is unclear what the exact cause of Alzheimer's disease is unknown, but there are numerous things give an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's later on in life. For example:
- Getting older
- A family history of dementia and Alzheimer's disease
- A history of severe head injuries
- Conditions affecting blood vessels
- Conditions affecting the heart
Research has shown that it is very common to have both of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia together. This is known as mixed dementia.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?
Because Alzheimer's is a progressive neurological disease, different functions of the brain will be affected at different times. As the disease progresses, memory loss will become more severe and other symptoms
will become more prominent, such as:
- Disorientation and confusion
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Problems planning and making decisions
- Difficulty with speech and language
- Issues moving around without assistance
- Problems performing self-care tasks
- Changes in personality, such as hallucinations and becoming aggressive, demanding, and suspicious of others
- Low mood or anxiety
Who is affected by Alzheimer's?
Alzheimer's disease affects more women than men, and affects 1 in 14 people over the age of 65, and 1 in 6 people over the age of 80. Whilst Alzheimer's disease is most prominent in those over the age of 65, around 1 in every 20 cases of Alzheimer's disease affects those aged 40 to 65.
According to the ONS, 11.6% of registered deaths in the UK were attributed to Alzheimer's disease. Due to the nature of Alzheimer's disease, it is a fatal disease
where people will pass away due to the symptoms. Utilising palliative end-of-life care
will help ease the pain and make those with Alzheimer's much more comfortable before they die.
How much does dementia cost the UK?
Dementia currently costs
the UK £26 billion a year, working out at an average yearly cost of £32,250 per person with dementia. People with dementia and their families are currently paying two-thirds of the cost, with £11.6 billion in unpaid care and the rest in private social care.
How to cope when a loved one has Alzheimer's disease
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, you may find that your relationship changes. You will become the main caregiver as your loved one may no longer be able to continue with certain daily tasks such as showering, household chores and financial matters. Making all these decisions and being the main carer can feel very overwhelming - especially as you are watching the person you love change right in front of your eyes.
Looking at types of home care services
such as live-in care and domiciliary care will help ease the pressure of being a sole carer. Due to the different types of dementia, you will need require different types of care, such as specialist dementia care
. If you’d like some advice regarding Alzheimer’s or have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch