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Home care is care that allows a person with special needs to stay in their home. It might be for people who are getting older (aging in place). It could also be for people who are chronically ill, recovering from surgery, orhave a disability. Home care services include:
You can get almost any type of help you want in your home. You have to pay for many of them. But some types of care and community services are free or donated. Sometimes government programs or your health insurance will help cover the cost of certain home care services.NIH: National Institute on Aging
A caregiver gives care to someone who needs help taking care of themselves. It can be rewarding. It may help to strengthen connections to a loved one. You may feel fulfillment from helping someone else. But sometimes caregiving can be stressful and even overwhelming. This can be especially true when caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
AD is an illness that changes the brain. It causes people to lose the ability to remember, think, and use good judgment. They also have trouble taking care of themselves. Over time, as the disease gets worse, they will need more and more help. As a caregiver, it is important for you to learn about AD. You will want to know what happens to the person during the different stages of the disease. This can help you plan for the future, so that you will have all of the resources you will need to be able to take care of your loved one.
As a caregiver for someone with AD, your responsibilities can include:
As you care for your loved one with AD, don't ignore your own needs. Caregiving can be stressful, and you need to take care of your own physical and mental health.
At some point, you will not be able to do everything on your own. Make sure that you get help when you need it. There are many different services available, including:
You might consider hiring a geriatric care manager. They are specially trained professionals who can help you to find the right services for your needs.
NIH: National Institute on Aging
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities.
AD begins slowly. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language. People with AD may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. A related problem, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), causes more memory problems than normal for people of the same age. Many, but not all, people with MCI will develop AD.
In AD, over time, symptoms get worse. People may not recognize family members. They may have trouble speaking, reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on, they may become anxious or aggressive, or wander away from home. Eventually, they need total care. This can cause great stress for family members who must care for them.
AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. Your risk is also higher if a family member has had the disease.
No treatment can stop the disease. However, some drugs may help keep symptoms from getting worse for a limited time.
NIH: National Institute on Aging
What is dementia?
Dementia is a loss of mental functions that is severe enough to affect your daily life and activities. These functions include:
It is normal to become a bit more forgetful as you age. But dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is a serious disorder which interferes with your daily life.What are the types of dementia?
The most common types of dementia are known as neurodegenerative disorders. These are diseases in which the cells of the brain stop working or die. They include:
Other conditions can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms, including:
Certain factors can raise your risk for developing dementia, including:
The symptoms of dementia can vary, depending on which parts of the brain are affected. Often, forgetfulness is the first symptom. Dementia also causes problems with the ability to think, problem solve, and reason. For example, people with dementia may:
Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions and their personalities may change. They may become apathetic, meaning that they are no longer interested in normal daily activities or events. They may lose their inhibitions and stop caring about other peoples' feelings.
Certain types of dementia can also cause problems with balance and movement.
The stages of dementia range from mild to severe. In the mildest stage, it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning. In the most severe stage, the person is completely dependent on others for care.How is dementia diagnosed?
Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
There is no cure for most types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body dementia. Treatments may help to maintain mental function longer, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow down the symptoms of disease. They may include:
Researchers have not found a proven way to prevent dementia. Living a healthy lifestyle might influence some of your risk factors for dementia.
What is heart failure?
Heart failure means that your heart can't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet your body's needs. Heart failure doesn't mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop beating. But without enough blood flow, your organs may not work well, which can cause serious problems.
Heart failure can affect one or both sides of your heart:
Left-sided heart failure is more common than right-sided heart failure.What causes heart failure?
Heart failure can start suddenly after a medical condition or injury damages your heart muscle. But in most cases, heart failure develops slowly from long-term medical conditions.
Conditions that can cause heart failure include:
Over time, left-sided heart failure can lead to right-sided heart failure.Who is more likely to develop heart failure?
Heart failure can happen at any age. It happens to both men and women, but men often develop it at a younger age than women. Your chance of developing heart failure increases if:
The symptoms of heart failure depend on which side of your heart is affected and how serious your condition has become. Most symptoms are caused by reduced blood flow to your organs and fluid buildup in your body.
Fluid buildup happens because the flow of blood through your heart is too slow. As a result, blood backs up in the vessels that return the blood to your heart. Fluid may leak from the blood vessels and collect in the tissues of your body, causing swelling (edema) and other problems.
Symptoms of heart failure may include:
At first you may have no symptoms or mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms will usually bother you more.What other problems does heart failure cause?
Fluid buildup and reduced blood flow to your organs can lead to serious problems, including:
To find out if you have heart failure, your doctor will:
In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist (a doctor who specializes in heart diseases) for tests, diagnosis, and care.What are the treatments for heart failure?
Your treatment will depend on the type of heart failure you have and how serious it is. There's no cure for heart failure. But treatment can help you live longer with fewer symptoms.
Even with treatment, heart failure usually gets worse over time, so you'll likely need treatment for the rest of your life.
Most treatment plans include:
You may need heart surgery if:
As part of your treatment, you'll need to pay close attention to your symptoms, because heart failure can worsen suddenly. Your provider may suggest a cardiac rehabilitation program to help you learn how to manage your condition.Can heart failure be prevented?
You may be able to prevent or delay heart failure if you:
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute