9 Key Alzheimer’s Terms Every Caregiver Should Know

While an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is life-changing, you as a caregiver can empower yourself by learning more about the disease, the changes your loved one may face, and the steps your loved one can take to move forward with life. Alzheimer’s generally progresses in stages over time. Learning essential terms related to the disease puts you in position to evaluate your loved one’s priorities, set goals, discuss treatments with their doctor, and take an active role in managing their health. The following are nine key terms that can help you better understand your loved one’s diagnosis and actively participate in their personal treatment plans.

9. Aphasia (and Dysphasia)

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Aphasia relates to experiencing difficulty with comprehending and producing speech, as well as with the ability to read and write. It can result in one or more symptoms, including forgetting words, substituting incorrect words, putting words in the wrong order, making up words, switching sounds, and difficulty understanding number concepts. Dysphasia is a similar yet less severe condition and relates to the inability to find the right word or understand the meaning of a word. Symptoms of dysphasia often include delayed speech while the individual tries to recall words, and may also include difficulty with daily tasks such as going shopping or answering the phone.

Those suffering from aphasia and dysphasia can recover to some degree with speech therapy. Reducing risk factors that lead to aphasia and dysphasia can include staying mentally active, maintaining healthy blood-cholesterol levels, getting regular medical examinations, and living a healthy lifestyle.

8. Apathy

Apathy shares some behavioral symptoms with depression, such as social withdrawal and lack of goal-centered activity. But instead of being a persistent sadness, apathy describes a lack of emotion, concern, or motivation evidenced by a lack of interest in personal hygiene, holding conversations, or previous hobbies. Ways to ward off apathy may include establishing and maintaining a daily routine, as well as engaging in fun activities like listening to music, doing art projects, or even dancing.

7. Beta-Amyloid

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Beta-amyloid is a protein fragment that builds up in spaces between nerve cells in the brain. This buildup, called plaque, is an indication of Alzheimer’s. Scientists are testing experimental drugs that clear or prevent plaques from building up in the brain. Meanwhile, following your doctor’s dietary recommendations, exercising, and staying socially active help keep your brain as healthy as possible.

The Alzheimer's Site is a place where people can come together to support those whose lives have been affected by Alzheimer's disease. In addition to sharing stories of hope and love, shopping for the cause, and signing petitions, visitors can take just a moment each day to click on the purple button to help provide care for those living with Alzheimer's disease and research for a brighter future. Visit The Alzheimer's Site and click today - it's free!
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