Most people are familiar with Alzheimer’s Disease, at least on the surface, either because they’ve known someone affected by the disease or have heard enough about it to form a basic familiarity. Unfortunately, there’s a lot about Alzheimer’s Disease that isn’t commonly understood. This includes everything from the scope of the disease, to who it affects and when. These gaps in understanding can make it especially difficult for those helping a loved one with Alzheimer’s to cope with the disease and everything it brings.
While all cases of Alzheimer’s Disease can be classified under one broad umbrella, there are differences in when and how the disease presents itself. The main difference being the one that exists between early onset and late onset occurrence of the disease.
What Is Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?
When many people think of Alzheimer’s, they associate it with an older population of people. While the majority of cases of Alzheimer’s Disease do present themselves after the age of 65, there are cases where the disease manifests as early as a person’s 40s or 50s. When Alzheimer’s occurs at a younger age it’s referred to as early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
It’s estimated that less than 5% of Alzheimer’s cases are early onset. Clinically speaking, the symptoms of the early onset form of the disease are similar to that of late onset Alzheimer’s, the main difference being that those who are affected are often still very active with work, family, and social lives.
Early onset Alzheimer’s is often genetic in nature. Meaning there’s an autosomal dominant gene involved that alters how beta amyloid (a protein that accumulates in people with Alzheimer’s) is produced and eliminated in the brain.
Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
Late onset Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of the disease, occurring in people over the age of 65. Symptoms of late onset disease are similar to that of early onset, and include:
- Memory loss
- Lack of judgement
- Inability to effectively communicate
- Inability to follow directions
- Difficulty performing everyday tasks
- Language difficulties
- Changes in demeanor
- Social withdrawal
Late onset Alzheimer’s can result from either a genetic or an environmental factor, and in some cases a combination of both.
Caring for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s
Both early and late onset Alzheimer’s are forms of a progressive disease. After a diagnosis is received, you’ll want to work closely with your doctor to determine the best plan of care for the patient with Alzheimer’s. As the disease progresses, it’s important that the patient be cared for in a compassionate, safe environment that ensures all their needs are taken care of.
An Alzheimer’s care facility can help you care for your loved one, while providing you with peace of mind. A full spectrum Alzheimer’s care facility will provide the following for your loved one:
- Individualized treatment plan
- Assistance with daily needs
- Supportive and stimulating activities
- Family communication and education
- Socialization programs
Providing Comfort and Care to Alzheimer’s Patients
You don’t have to carry the weight of caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s alone. There are Alzheimer’s care facilities that specialize in compassionate memory care to enhance your loved one’s quality of life. At Lexington Square we offer the most comprehensive Alzheimer’s care program in Lombard and Elmhurst. Contact Lexington Square to schedule a tour of our community today.