Alzheimer's Archives - Senior Living & Care Center Sugar Land Rosenberg, Richmond, Katy & Houston Texas

Is Alzheimer’s Genetic?

Is Alzheimer’s Genetic?

Is Alzheimer’s Genetic?

There are two types of Alzheimer’s disease: early-onset and late-onset. Researchers believe there is a genetic component to both

The first type, early-onset Alzheimer’s, isn’t very common. It occurs in adults under the age of 65. Only 10% of all Alzheimer’s cases are early-onset. The genes that account for this type of Alzheimer’s disease are less than 1% of all cases, but for early diagnosis, they are present in 70% of cases.   

If either of your parents has these genes, your odds of developing early-onset Alzheimer’s is about fifty-fifty.

Late-onset Alzheimer’s has some mystery about it. A variety of factors contribute to it. Lifestyle, environment, and genetics are thought to play a role. A hereditary link to Alzheimer’s has been detected in connection with a risk gene. However, some people who have these genes never develop the disease. 

In short, yes, there are genetic links to Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping an eye on the signs and symptoms can help.

Many people wonder if Alzheimer’s disease runs in their family. Is it in your genes? This question isn’t easy to answer. Researchers have identified several genetic variants that are associated with Alzheimer’s and may increase or decrease a person’s risk of developing the disease. What does that mean? Let’s first learn about the role of genes.

What are Genes?

Human cells contain the instructions needed for a cell to do its job. These instructions are made up of DNA, which is packed tightly into structures called chromosomes. Each chromosome has thousands of segments called genes.

Genes are passed down from a person’s biological parents. They carry information that defines traits such as eye color and height. Genes also play a role in keeping the body’s cells healthy.

Variations in genes — even small changes to a gene — can affect the likelihood of a person developing a disease such as Alzheimer’s.

Do Genes Cause Diseases?

Permanent changes in one or more specific genes are called genetic variants. Some of these variants are quite common in the human population. While most genetic variants don’t cause diseases, some do. In some cases, a person inherits a genetic variant that will almost certainly lead to that individual developing a disease. Sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and some cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s are examples of inherited genetic disorders. However, other variants may simply increase, or even decrease, a person’s risk of developing that disease. Identifying genetic variants and their effects can help researchers uncover the most effective ways to treat or prevent diseases in an individual.

Additionally, factors such as exercise, diet, chemicals, or smoking can have positive or negative effects by changing the way certain genes work.

Precision medicine will enable researchers and doctors to predict more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies will work in particular groups of people.

Genes and Alzheimer’s Disease 

In most cases, Alzheimer’s does not have a single genetic cause. Instead, it can be influenced by multiple genes in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors. Consequently, a person may carry more than one gene or group of genes that can either increase or reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Importantly, people who develop Alzheimer’s do not always have a history of the disease in their families. Still, those who have a parent or sibling diagnosed with the disease have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those without that association.

A child whose biological parent carries a genetic variant for one of these three genes has a 50/50 chance of inheriting that altered version of the gene. If the variant is inherited, the child has a very strong probability of developing Alzheimer’s before age 65 and sometimes much earlier. When someone develops Alzheimer’s before age 65, it’s known as Early-onset Alzheimer’s or sometimes Younger-onset Alzheimer’s.

We are here to help, too. If you or a loved one is dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia, our team can help you with finding local resources and our Memory Care community at The Village at Sugar Land can help you wherever you are in your journey.

Contact us at 281-729-8800 or email [email protected]

The 3 Stages of Alzheimer’s

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The 3 Stages of Alzheimer's: Early, Middle and Final

Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses slowly in three stages:

  1. Early (Mild)
  2. Middle (Moderate)
  3. Late (Severe)

Since Alzheimer’s affects people in different ways, each person may experience dementia symptoms — or progress through the stages — differently. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease worsen over time, although the rate at which the disease progresses vary. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors. Changes in the brain related to Alzheimer’s begin years before any signs of the disease. This time period, which can last for years, is referred to as preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.
The stages below provide an overall idea of how abilities change once symptoms appear and should only be used as a general guide. (Dementia is a general term to describe the symptoms of mental decline that accompany Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.)
The stages are separated into three categories: mild Alzheimer’s disease, moderate Alzheimer’s disease and severe Alzheimer’s disease. Be aware that it may be difficult to place a person with Alzheimer’s in a specific stage as stages may overlap.


Early-Stage Alzheimer’s (Mild) : In the early stage of Alzheimer’s, a person may function independently. He or she may still drive, work and be part of social activities. Despite this, the person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses, such as forgetting familiar words or the location of everyday objects.
Symptoms may not be widely apparent at this stage, but family and close friends may take notice and a doctor would be able to identify symptoms using certain diagnostic tools.
Common difficulties include:

  • Coming up with the right word or name.
  • Remembering names when introduced to new people.
  • Having difficulty performing tasks in social or work settings.
  • Forgetting material that was just read.
  • Losing or misplacing a valuable object.
  • Experiencing increased trouble with planning or organizing.​

During the early stage, it’s possible for people with dementia to live well by taking control of their health and wellness, and focusing their energy on aspects of their life that are most meaningful to them. In addition, this is the ideal time to put legal, financial and end-of-life plans in place because the person with dementia will be able to participate in decision-making.


Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s (Moderate) :  This is typically the longest stage and can last for many years. As the disease progresses, the person with Alzheimer’s will require a greater level of care.
During the middle stage of Alzheimer’s, the dementia symptoms are more pronounced. the person may confuse words, get frustrated or angry, and act in unexpected ways, such as refusing to bathe. Damage to nerve cells in the brain can also make it difficult for the person to express thoughts and perform routine tasks without assistance.

Symptoms, which vary from person to person, may include:

  • Being forgetful of events or personal history.
  • ​Feeling moody or withdrawn, especially in socially or mentally challenging situations.
  • Being unable to recall information about themselves like their address or telephone number, and the high school or college they attended.
  • Experiencing confusion about where they are or what day it is.
  • Requiring help choosing proper clothing for the season or the occasion.
  • Having trouble controlling their bladder and bowels.
  • Experiencing changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping during the day and becoming restless at night.
  • Showing an increased tendency to wander and become lost.
  • Demonstrating personality and behavioral changes, including suspiciousness and delusions or compulsive, repetitive behavior like hand-wringing or tissue shredding.

In the middle stage, the person living with Alzheimer’s can still participate in daily activities with assistance. It’s important to find out what the person can still do or find ways to simplify tasks. As the need for more intensive care increases, caregivers may want to consider respite care or an adult day center so they can have a temporary break from caregiving while the person living with Alzheimer’s continues to receive care in a safe environment.


Late-Stage Alzheimer’s (Severe) : In the final stage of the disease, dementia symptoms are severe. Individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation and, eventually, to control movement. They may still say words or phrases, but communicating pain becomes difficult. As memory and cognitive skills continue to worsen, significant personality changes may take place and individuals need extensive care.

  • Require around-the-clock assistance with daily personal care.
  • ​Lose awareness of recent experiences as well as of their surroundings.
  • Experience changes in physical abilities, including walking, sitting and, eventually, swallowing
  • Have difficulty communicating.
  • Become vulnerable to infections, especially pneumonia.

The person living with Alzheimer’s may not be able to initiate engagement as much during the late stage, but he or she can still benefit from interaction in ways that are appropriate, like listening to relaxing music or receiving reassurance through gentle touch. During this stage, caregivers may want to use support services, such as hospice care, which focus on providing comfort and dignity at the end of life. Hospice can be of great benefit to people in the final stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their families.

At The Village at Sugar Land we offer customized individualized programs to our Memory Care Residents, which keeps them busy and boost their memory also. 
Contact us at [email protected] or call 281-729-8800


What is Alzheimer’s and What are the Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

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What is Alzheimer's and What are the Signs of Alzheimer's Disease?

What is Alzheimers?
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, a serious brain disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. The disease, which currently has no cure, slowly causes a person’s memory and brain functions to deteriorate, leading to disability and death.
It is estimated that around 50 million people are living with dementia globally, and the number is projected to reach 82 million by 2030. The burden of care for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia falls on their families and caregivers. It can be both emotionally and physically demanding, often leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Signs of Alzheimers:
It is important to understand the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, its effects, and the resources available for families and caregivers. Early diagnosis can help people to access treatments that may slow the progress of the disease and improve their quality of life.
People with Alzheimer’s are usually diagnosed in their mid-60s and beyond, and the condition affects different people in different ways. Early signs may include memory loss and difficulty with language, decision-making, and understanding. As the disease progresses, people lose their ability to care for themselves and often require full-time care.Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of the disease. Decline in non-memory aspects of cognition, such as finding the right word, trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the early stages of Alzheimer’s. As the disease progresses, symptoms become more severe and include increased confusion and behavior changes.

Fortunately, research into Alzheimer’s is ongoing, and there is hope that treatments and even a cure may one day be found. In the meantime, support and understanding for those living with the disease and their caregivers is essential.

Learn more about how our Memory Care residents live with purposeful joy here at The Village at Sugar Land. Contact us [email protected] or call 281-729-8800 

Moving Your Loved One to a Memory Care Facility

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Moving Your Loved One to A Memory Care Facility

Looking for a Memory Care Facility for your loved one? If your loved one is dealing with memory loss, you may be wondering if a move to a memory care facility is the right decision. There are a number of factors to consider when making this decision, and it’s important to consult with your loved one’s doctor and other trusted advisors to ensure that you’re making the best possible choice.

There are definitely some advantages to moving to a memory care facility. For one thing, these facilities are designed specifically for people with memory loss, so they can provide a higher level of care than most general nursing homes. They also offer a variety of activities and programs specifically designed to help residents maintain their mental faculties and improve their quality of life.

Of course, there are also some potential downsides to moving to a memory care facility. One is that it can be expensive, and you’ll need to make sure that your loved one’s insurance will cover the cost. Additionally, there may be a period of adjustment as your loved one gets used to their new surroundings and care regimen.

Ultimately, whether or not moving to a memory care facility is the right decision for your loved one is something that only you can decide. However, it’s important to weigh all the pros and cons carefully before making a decision. With the right level of care and support, your loved one can definitely benefit from living in a memory care facility. 

Sleep Problems in People with Alzheimer’s

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Sleep Problems in People with Alzheimer’s

Tips that Help Caregivers Manage Sleep Problems in People with Alzheimer’s

  1. Exercise is important each day, limit naps, and make sure the person gets enough rest at night. Being overly tired can increase late-afternoon and nighttime restlessness.
  2. Plan activities that use more energy early in the day. For example, try bathing in the morning or having the largest family meal in the middle of the day.
  3. Set a quiet, peaceful mood in the evening to help the person relax. Keep the lights low, try to reduce the noise levels, and play soothing music if he or she enjoys it.
  4. Try to have the person go to bed at the same time each night. A bedtime routine, such as reading out loud, also may help.
  5. Limit caffeine.
  6. Use nightlights in the bedroom, hall, and bathroom.

Early Signs of Dementia

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Early Signs of Dementia

Since dementia usually comes on gradually, it’s easy to miss the early indicators. Plus, some types of dementia start damaging a person’s brain long before any symptoms appear. For example, preclinical Alzheimer’s is a stage that can last a decade or more without any obvious hint of disease. However, in some cases, dementia can appear to come on all of a sudden—mostly among people with certain types of FTD, vascular dementia, or CJD.

Dementia primarily affects seniors and the elderly. But it can also affect those who are still in their prime working years. Early-onset dementia is the term used when it strikes younger people. The age for early-onset dementia varies, but it’s always under age 65 and frequently falls in the range of 50 to 64. People much younger than that can also get dementia.

Since different cognitive disorders can affect different people in different ways, it’s important to be aware of a fairly wide range of possible symptoms. That way, you’ll have an easier time recognizing potential problems before they progress to a more advanced stage. In the beginning, a person may display just one or two of the following indicators.

Early Signs of Dementia Checklist

  • Abnormal memory problems: Everybody has moments of forgetfulness. Pay attention if those moments become more frequent or involve forgetting information like a close friend’s name, where you live, or where objects that you use every day are. People with early-stage dementia may also forget what they’ve just done yet still remember events from many years ago. They also may repeat things they’ve already said or tasks they’ve already completed.
  • Mood or behavioral changes: Many people in the early stages of dementia start behaving in odd or out-of-character ways. Their personalities begin to change as they sense that something isn’t quite right and try to cope or adapt. For instance, they might become depressed, fearful, and apathetic, losing interest in the things that used to bring them joy. They may withdraw from social opportunities and become more irritable than usual. Or they might lose some of their inhibitions and become more aggressive or outgoing.
  • Communication problems: Have you ever had trouble thinking of the right word to use during a conversation? It’s happened to most of us. But during the early stages of dementia, it can happen much more frequently. And it can go beyond single words. Entire sentences can come out sounding like gibberish, as if constructed with random word choices. Plus, the meanings of words may be forgotten, making it hard to follow conversations or keep up with what’s happening in movies or TV shows.
  • Bad decision-making: People with dementia can lose their sense of reason and judgment, causing them to do things they would otherwise regret. For example, they might fall for scam artists or waste huge amounts of money on things they don’t need. Or they might dress inappropriately or make bizarre plans that don’t work out due to a lack of organization.
  • Trouble performing routine tasks: It’s pretty common for adults with dementia to start losing their ability to carry out some of their daily activities. For instance, they may have trouble counting money or making simple financial transactions. They might misjudge distances or forget routine safety precautions while driving. Or they may have a hard time playing their favorite games.
  • Confusion or disorientation: It’s normal to be a little confused from time to time. But confusion should be a red flag when it happens regularly or in familiar surroundings. Even in the early stages of dementia, people can lose their sense of time, get lost, confuse past and current events, or mix up friends or family’s names and faces. With some types of dementia, hallucinations can also occur.

Caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges for families and caregivers. If your loved one is showing symptoms of Dementia, we are here for you!!  Schedule a meeting with us to discuss further. Contact 832-944-8111 or email [email protected]

What Happens as Dementia Progresses?

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What Happens as Dementia Progresses?

As people approach the more advanced dementia stages, they become more like strangers to those who know and love them. Their personalities often change significantly, making their family members feel robbed and heartbroken. And they become unable to perform activities of daily living without assistance. Eventually, their minds and bodies fail entirely.

During Mid-stage Dementia (also known as moderate-stage dementia), the symptoms grow more intense and restricting. A person may show many of the symptoms already described, but they will be increasingly hampered by them. By this point, dedicated dementia care is almost always necessary. For people at this stage, memory issues, behavior, and decision-making become more problematic. And they often start needing assistance with tasks like eating, going to the bathroom, bathing, and getting dressed. They also may wander haphazardly, have delusions, grow suspicious of other people, and take compulsive actions.

During Late-stage Dementia (also known as severe dementia or end-stage dementia), a person’s brain is so damaged that even basic bodily functions are affected. Patients at this stage need 24/7 care since they are totally dependent on their caregivers. Their abilities to move, speak, swallow, breathe, and control their bowels and bladder are often severely limited, to the point of failure in many cases.

Life Expectancy
It’s sad but true: A person can die from dementia. Most types of dementia are fatal since they’re currently incurable. But, aside from rare forms of dementia, it can take anywhere from three to 20 years for dementia to progress from diagnosis to death. Whether you’re talking about Alzheimer’s disease, LBD, FTD, or vascular dementia, life expectancy after the first onset of symptoms varies from patient to patient. What researchers do know is that the biggest factors involved in the life expectancy of dementia patients include:

  • Gender: Women with dementia tend to live longer, on average, than men.
  • Age: The older you are when symptoms first appear, the less time you can generally expect to live.
  • The severity of symptoms when diagnosed: The more impaired your cognitive functions are when receiving your dementia diagnosis, the less time you are likely to live.

An older person can live with dementia for between roughly four and 11 years, depending on their age. Here’s how that breaks down for seniors and elderly people, according to a study in The BMJ:

  • 65 to 69 years old: 10.7 years
  • 70 to 79 years old: 5.4 years
  • 80 to 89 years old: 4.3 years
  • 90 years old or above: 3.8 years

How Dementia Is Diagnosed
Unfortunately, a single, 100-percent-accurate test for dementia doesn’t exist yet. And many cases of dementia can only be completely confirmed with an autopsy.
That means doctors often have to make a “best guess” determination and classify their living patients as having either “possible” or “probable” dementia. So, how is dementia diagnosed in patients who are still alive? It requires multiple steps.

First, a doctor will take a comprehensive medical history. A thorough physical exam will then be performed, which might include simple neurological tests for evaluating things like speech, coordination, eye movement, and reflexes. The doctor will order lab tests to help rule out other illnesses and check various health markers such as blood counts and nutrient and hormone levels. The tests will not be invasive. They will be based on blood and urine samples. A brain scan may also be ordered, especially if the doctor suspects vascular dementia. A brain scan may also be ordered, especially if the doctor suspects vascular dementia. Finally, the patient will participate in various tests for assessing mental ability.

Several aspects of a patient’s mental abilities are usually evaluated, including:

  • Short-term recall: The doctor may name three random objects (or a name and address) and ask the patient to say them back and remember them later.
  • Verbal communication: The patient may be asked several open-ended questions to see how well they use and understand language.
  • Concentration: The doctor may ask the patient to perform a simple mental exercise that requires sustained focus and attention, such as counting backward.
  • Information and orientation: The doctor may check to see if the patient can give correct and specific answers to basic questions about the date, location, recent events, and universally known facts.
  • Learning and retention: The patient may be asked to recall and repeat the three objects (or name and address) that were spoken earlier.

The clock-drawing test is another simple assessment tool that’s often used. A patient is asked to draw a traditional round clock with all the numbers and hands showing a specific time. Any errors in the hands or numbers placement indicate cognitive problems that need to be further evaluated.

A doctor will also usually ask a patient’s loved one or caregiver about any abnormal behavior or abilities changes. Once the doctor has gathered all the results and information, they will either diagnose the patient or refer them to another medical professional for additional evaluation.

Caring for a loved one with dementia poses many challenges for families and caregivers. If your loved one is showing symptoms of Dementia, we are here for you!!  Schedule a meeting with us to discuss further. Contact 832-944-8111 or email [email protected] 

Other Forms of Dementia

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Other Forms of Dementia

There are other forms of Dementia besides Alzheimer’s. Some prominent ones are discussed below:

Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is another prevalent form of dementia. But many people with vascular dementia also have Alzheimer’s disease. With medication and lifestyle changes, you can treat vascular dementia and slow down its progression. However, the damage that’s already done cannot be reversed. And the condition itself cannot yet be cured. With vascular dementia, symptoms generally vary a little depending on the underlying cause.
Vascular dementia is caused by interruptions to the flow of blood in a person’s brain. Those interruptions can be due to strokes or build-ups of fatty material that result in the narrowing of blood vessels. Some patients have both problems.

Symptoms of Vascular Dementia can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Trouble organizing thoughts and coordinating actions
  • Difficulty with decision-making
  • Struggles with problem-solving
  • Trouble communicating verbally
  • Personality changes
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Mobility problems
  • Numbness or weakness in a particular area of the body

Not everyone who has a stroke develops vascular dementia. But having a stroke does increase your risk. Roughly one-third of stroke survivors who previously had no dementia eventually develop this condition—often within one year.

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)
As the second most common type of degenerative dementia, this sometimes-overlooked disease affects many people—about 1.4 million people in the U.S. alone. But it can be very difficult to diagnose since it often occurs alongside Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. It can even occur alongside Parkinson’s disease. Patients with LBD can display a wide variety of symptoms.

Some of the most distinctive signs of Lewy body dementia can include:

  • Delusions
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Symptoms that get better or worse from one moment (or hour) to the next
  • Physically acting out violent or vivid dreams at night
  • Staring with a blank facial expression
  • Shaking while walking
  • Standing or moving stiffly, slowly, or with a shuffle

Other symptoms often include the same ones displayed by Alzheimer’s patients or those with vascular dementia. In the brains of people with LBD, abnormal protein deposits (known as Lewy bodies) accumulate and make it difficult for neurons to communicate. As the disease progresses, more and more neurons die, causing all kinds of cognitive, behavioral, and physical problems, particularly at the most advanced Lewy body dementia stages.

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
Unlike other types of dementia, FTD doesn’t usually cause memory problems until late in the disease cycle. That’s because it first attacks the parts of the brain that control speech, personality, thought, and behavior. FTD is considered a group of dementias, with each type affecting a person in particular ways. For example:
1. A person with progressive nonfluent aphasia will have difficulty speaking or finding the right words to use.
2. Someone with semantic dementia will have a hard time understanding what other people are saying.
3. People with behavioral variant FTD will often have trouble planning, concentrating, and solving problems. They also frequently have personality changes that lead to strange, obsessive, or inappropriate behavior.

Many people with FTD also experience muscle weakness and trouble with physical movement. The underlying cause of FTD is currently unknown. However, in some patients, certain genes may play a role. And some FTD patients have abnormal accumulations of proteins (called Pick bodies) in their brains.

Other Forms of Dementia & Dementia-Like Illnesses
In addition to the types of dementia outlined above, it’s a good idea to know about some other conditions that can cause or mimic dementia. For instance, many adults develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Having MCI means that, for their age, they have slightly greater-than-expected difficulties with speech, memory, or decision-making. However, those problems don’t yet rise to the level of dementia. Other people may develop dementia or dementia-like symptoms as a result of conditions like:

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD): Also known as spongiform encephalopathy, this rare type of dementia is associated with memory problems, vision problems, impaired judgment, and difficulties with physical coordination. It usually progresses rapidly and leads to death within about a year.

Huntington’s Disease (HD): This genetic disorder progressively destroys a person’s brain cells, causing deterioration of their mental and physical function. It’s incurable. Most people who get this disease first notice symptoms between the ages of 30 and 50.
Parkinson’s disease (PD): People with this degenerative movement disorder gradually have more trouble talking, walking, and carrying out other simple activities. Since PD affects a person’s brain cells, it can sometimes cause various symptoms of dementia.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Cognitive decline happens to some people with MS, but it’s generally less severe than what people experience with the most common types of dementia.

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome: This condition is caused by not having enough vitamin B1 (thiamine) in your body, often resulting from alcohol abuse. It can lead to permanent brain damage and many dementia-like symptoms, including lack of physical coordination, vision problems, memory loss, delusions, and other forms of mental decline.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH): People with this condition have excess fluid in the brain, leading to various dementia-like symptoms. But unlike most of the other conditions on this list, NPH can often be successfully treated with surgery, resulting in nearly full recovery.

HIV/AIDS-Related Dementia: Some HIV/AIDS patients experience cognitive decline or deterioration of their motor functions due to HIV damaging their brain cells or causing too much inflammation in their brains or spinal cords.

No matter what form of Dementia your loved one is suffering from, The Rivers Memory Care at The Village at Sugar Land have a plan in place. We do an assessment to determine the type of Dementia and work with you moving forward.

For more details and information reach out to us at [email protected] or call 832-944-8111. We are here for you all along the journey of your loved one!!

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

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Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Do you know which dementia stages are associated with significant personality changes? How about which types of dementia cause hallucinations? Did you know that there are other forms of dementia besides Alzheimer’s disease?

Here’s why it’s important to educate yourself about dementia: Prevention, in many cases, may be possible. And for anyone already showing symptoms, it’s crucial to understand what may lie ahead as the condition progresses. Friends, loved ones, and caregivers can provide much better support (and minimize their own stress) by having good information and giving this subject the full attention it deserves.

In this article, you’ll learn about several aspects of dementia, including its potential causes, the signs to watch for, how it’s diagnosed, and how it can be treated and managed. You’ll also learn how to live with someone who has dementia and provide compassionate care in a way that maintains their dignity. You’ll even discover reasons for hope.

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Disease: What the Terminology Means

The difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is that dementia is a general category of symptoms and Alzheimer’s disease is a specific disease diagnosed within that overall category. Dementia is an umbrella term for several types of disorders that involve life-disrupting cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, but many other forms also exist.

So a person can have dementia without having Alzheimer’s disease. A person can also have multiple kinds of dementia (a condition known as “mixed dementia”); Alzheimer’s disease may be just one of them.

In short, a person with Alzheimer’s disease has dementia. But a person with dementia doesn’t necessarily have Alzheimer’s disease. Either way, the outcome is usually the same. A person with dementia retains consciousness but progressively loses their mental abilities, leading to a severe inability to perform basic daily activities. Memory, communication, reasoning, and motor functions can all be affected.

It’s essential to understand the differences between various dementia types to give the patient the appropriate care. But pinpointing what kind of dementia a person has can be challenging since different forms of dementia often have overlapping symptoms. In many cases, a completely accurate diagnosis can’t be made until a patient passes away and an autopsy is performed.

The most common forms of dementia you should know about is Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease

As the most common type of dementia and the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., Alzheimer’s disease poses major challenges for patients, loved ones, caregivers, and the nation’s healthcare system. Alzheimer’s is currently a terminal disease, meaning that it is fatal and irreversible; no cure exists. So the toll it takes can be overwhelming for everyone involved.

Like most other forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease comes on gradually. People with this disease tend to appear perfectly normal during the earliest stages. But as the disease progresses, the symptoms slowly become more obvious and life-altering. Every patient is different, but some of the most characteristic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Memory problems (especially when it comes to remembering new information)
  • Trouble using words to communicate
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Impaired thinking and poor decision-making
  • Strange, out-of-character behavior
  • Emotional problems, such as sadness, fear, or anxiety
  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies
  • Trouble completing routine tasks and daily activities
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Incontinence
  • Impaired motor functions, such as trouble walking and swallowing (mostly during advanced stages of the disease)

Researchers continue to make discoveries about what happens to the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. They’ve already discovered that this disease causes changes to a person’s brain at both a structural and cellular level. At the structural level, the disease impairs the limbic system first, followed by the cerebral cortex and then the brain stem. The disease can also prevent the formation of new blood vessels in different parts of the brain. At the cellular level, the disease progressively destroys a person’s brain cells (known as neurons). As neurons die, affected areas of the brain start to shrink. Two proteins are thought to play a role in that process:

  • Beta-amyloid: In Alzheimer’s patients’ brains, abnormal plaques (mostly consisting of this protein) form like scar tissue between neurons. As more and more of these plaques accumulate in the brain, neurons are less and less able to send messages to each other.
  • Tau: In a healthy brain, this protein helps neurons maintain their internal structure. But in people with Alzheimer’s disease, it forms tangled bundles of fibers that prevent the normal functioning of neurons.

So for people with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s like their internal “lights” are slowly being dimmed and shut off. And there is currently no way to turn those lights back on; the damage is permanent. That’s what makes Alzheimer’s such a scary illness. Plus, the damage often begins ten or more years before any symptoms emerge.

Here are some additional facts about Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that it may play a major role in as many as 60 to 70 percent of all dementia cases.
  • According to a report from the Alzheimer’s Association, about 10 percent of seniors above the age of 65 have the disease.
  • The above report also found that nearly two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S. are women.

Our Rivers Memory Care program at The Village at Sugar Land: Assisted Living and Memory Care provides a supportive community for our residents with Dementia. Our trained staff works with our residents on a daily basis. Residents and their families are assured about our highest quality memory care and support for them.

For more information about our Memory Care programs, call 832-944-8111 or email us at  [email protected] 

How Music Therapy Benefits Alzheimer’s Patients?

An older man and woman playing a guitar.

How Music Therapy Benefits Alzheimer’s Patients? Or The role of music at the vilage at sugar land.

Musical intervention provides therapeutic effects for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease because music elicits feelings and memories. Musical therapies have been demonstrated to reduce agitation, improve communication, and improve caregiver relationships in patients.

Dementia is a broad word that refers to the loss of memory and cognitive ability that occurs as a result of a brain disease or injury. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia, accounting for 60 percent to 70% of cases.

Music has been shown to aid with agitation and behavioral abnormalities, which are common in Alzheimer’s diseases’ intermediate phases. Even in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a person may be able to tap a beat or sing the words to a favorite childhood song. Music allows people to connect even when verbal communication is difficult.

Music helps the patients to relax and serve to awaken dormant memories. You don’t have to be a music therapist to help Alzheimer’s patients enjoy music. Music experiences, such as any form of musical entertainment provided by caregivers play a vital role for clients’ needs.

In a nutshell, music helps:

  1. Improve cognitive abilities
  2. Develops imagination and creative skills
  3. Improves overall well being and quality of life
  4. Bring joy and relaxation
  5. Create cultural and social bonding with friends around you.

Do you have a loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s ? We believe that every senior deserves a safe, healthy and happy life.

Our Memory Care programs are tailored to Alzheimer’s patients. We offer a daily ritual of musical activity for our Memory Care residents. Learn about our Alzheimer’s Activity Programs by reaching out to [email protected] or call 281-729-8800 for more details.