Alzheimer’s disease slowly steals from sufferers their power to think and function. The degeneration is a process that exists on a continuum from no signs and symptoms to almost complete impairment. By breaking the method down into stages, patients and their families will be able to better understand what stage they are in and what they can expect. With a little luck, this awareness will help them handle what lies ahead.
A better grasp of the Stages of Alzheimer’s disease can also improve the standard of community support and nursing facility care. A selection of techniques exist for delineating the Stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University is an often cited Alzheimer’s disease doctor who has developed The Functional Assessment Staging (FAST) scale. Reisberg’s scale is composed of sixteen stages, which track the loss of everyday capabilities that healthy individuals take for granted, from balancing a checkbook to using the bathroom to smiling at a friend.
The stages start with a perception of memory loss and progress to a complete inability to perform everyday tasks at work and at home, leading finally to issues with personal cleanliness, speech and movement. The fall in capabilities tracked by Reisberg resembles a regression through infancy development to a state of just about infantile dependency, not being able to even hold one’s head up. As bleak as this prognosis could be for caregivers, Reisberg claims that family members can use the scales to plan for daily routines that compensate for their loved one’s lost capabilities while keeping their minds active. Knowing what should be expected and what will not work for patients in the different stages of Alzheimer’s disease can remove the guesswork and uneasiness of caregiving.
Because of the importance of data about the stages of Alzheimer’s disease for caregivers, research is being done on a way to improve the availability of information about the illness and on ways to improve perception of the availability of social and community support. One researcher is inspecting the usefulness of an initiative that uses a support group setting to coach families about Alzheimer’s disease and to make them conscious of resources inside their communities. Another initiative tries to connect patients and their families with doctors in their community who are educated not only about the illness but also about sources of community support. One critical type of community support involves keeping Alzheimer’s patients active and attached to their communities even with their reduced capabilities. One unique program permits patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease to coach lessons to kids in Montessori faculties.
Programs are also being developed for patients with more severe Alzheimer’s disease who are in nursing facilities. These programs struggle to make caregiving more personal and tailor-made to a patient’s desires and capabilities. Eventually, as fantastic as community programs and initiatives may be, they’re only effective if they are used. Research is being done on which programs are best for Alzheimer’s patients and the way to inspire caregivers to actually use these programs.