St. Louis Alzheimer’s Help
At Heavenly Helpers, we do more than just St. Louis seniors home care. We have a passion for learning and keeping up with the latest research on all topics concerning health and seniors.
Alzheimer’s (and brain health) is certainly in the forefront of what is being researched, studied, talked and written about these days. The scope of subject matter related to Alzheimer’s help is immense. However there are a couple of themes, in particular, to be front and center in current discussions and research.
The first one is that researchers are now realizing that we are not diagnosing Alzheimer’s early enough. To put it bluntly, the results of this have been devastating. By the time we are diagnosing it the damage has been done. Researchers are telling us that we actually are diagnosing it in the late stages. On average, Alzheimer’s follows a 14 year course from onset of symptoms until death. (There is some variability, but this is typical.)
On average, we diagnose Alzheimer’s in years 8-10 in the course of the disease. This is why, let’s face it, we are not seeing results with the current medications we have. A healthy brain might very well respond more robustly than one with massive brain damage. Think how these same medications might be much more effective if they were given in year one….
A second issue is, as home care experts, one we are particularly concerned with. Multiple studies have shown that the stress of constantly caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia is hazardous and in many cases deadly. We want to emphasize an important point here: there is a definite difference in how the body responds to this type of stress versus other kinds of stress.
The burden of constantly caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is linked to an impaired immune response. What happens, essentially, is this: When we experience fear or extreme stress, a cascade of hormones and cytokines is released that is our “fight or flight” response. Once the threat is gone, the body should return to normal. But with the caregivers this response is initiated over and over again. The body is in this constant state of “fight or flight” overdrive.
These hormones and cytokines create inflammation (which is a defense mechanism for the body). But when this inflammation becomes chronic it causes early aging, debilitating disease and early death. Prolonged levels of these cytokines have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, intestinal disorders, stomach and colon disorders, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis. Depression in care givers is 8 times higher than the rest of the population!
Our response to this is to constantly educate the public on how important it is to accept assistance when caring for someone with a chronic illness-especially something like Alzheimer’s.
What You Should Know About Alzheimer’s Help From Heavenly Helpers…
- We understand caring for your loved one doesn’t end at 5pm. If you have a problem or emergency, you can call us- whatever the hour-and you will get someone with expertise to help you. The Owner, Office Manager or our Case Manager will immediately call you back to offer assistance.
- Respite (taking a break) is not a luxury you, as a primary care giver, can do without. Research shows that the immense stress of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s impairs the immune system and can create chronic diseases.
- At Heavenly Helpers we are constantly going to seminars, lectures, attending classes and studying the latest research on Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- We recommend that you have a set schedule for respite care. Why? Because if you leave it to chance it will not happen. We can work with you to set up a weekly schedule for our caregiver to come in and relieve members of the family.
- We recommend you physically get away and do something that recharges you-whether it is lunch with friends, a trip to the mall to shop or get your nails done, going to the gym to exercise, getting a massage (a fantastic way to help with tension) or to just sit and read quietly in a coffee shop.
- It is imperative that you completely trust and feel comfortable with the person you leave in charge. Otherwise your level of stress will actually be higher than if you had not gotten respite care in the first place.
- Heavenly Helpers can be a wealth of information and advice. We can give you suggestions and tips we have learned over the years on dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Routine. Stable. Consistent. These are very important concepts when dealing with Alzheimer’s. That is why Heavenly Helpers will always have your same caregiver providing care. Even those with advanced Alzheimer’s benefit from sensing the familiar.
- Take a deep breath and permit yourself to accept help. It is a sign of wisdom and strength.
For a list of Alzheimer’s resources, please visit our Alzheimer’s resource page.
To learn about how you can get Alzheimer’s help or to schedule a free Alzheimer’s care assessment for you and your loved one, please call our office today at 314-963-9913 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, your St. Louis elderly care specialists.