Disorientation in Seniors with Alzheimer’s
November is the National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s is the disease that causes progressive damage in the brain. Disorientation in seniors with Alzheimer’s is one fragment of how Alzheimer’s affects seniors.
Currently, Alzheimer’s affects around 5 million Americans. Most of the people with diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are over the age of 65. But early-onset Alzheimer’s has affected not-a-few people before that age too.
Alzheimer’s – A Collection of Symptoms
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s in senior adults are many. The symptoms may vary from senior to senior.
The list of symptoms includes:
- Cognitive incapacity
- Fear and distrust
- Feeling agitated
- Forgetting how to do activities of daily living
- Hallucinations and powerful sensory imaginings
- Inability to reason
- Losing the memory
- Loss of ability to communicate
- Misconceptions and delusions false beliefs
- Misjudging events
- Mobility issues
Let’s discuss the topic of disorientation in people with Alzheimer’s. Then we will go on to discuss the National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
What is Disorientation
Disorientation is what a person feels when they don’t have a sense of time, date or direction. The brain is not working in the normal way it does.
Disorientation is not restricted to people with Alzheimer’s. Other illnesses can be accompanied by disorientation. Some examples are: dehydration, stroke, amnesia, concussion or drug overdose. It can also be a side effect of taking, or ceasing to take, prescription medicines.
However, when disorientation in seniors with Alzheimer’s strikes, it often appears together with other symptoms. These include: being confused, not paying attention, having delusions, being delirious, wandering and having hallucinations.
Agitation is another symptom that accompanies disorientation. But in a sad and logical way, its appearance makes sense.
What Does it Mean for a Person Who has Alzheimer’s?
Disorientation in seniors with Alzheimer’s might mean that they forget:
- Where they are
- Who they are
- What time or day it is
- How to get back home
What Can a Carer Do To Help?
Practical and emotional support for a person experiencing disorientation includes:
- The carer should remain calm and reassuring.
- Being aware when and which medicines the person has taken.
- Noting whether certain things seem to bring on the disorientation.
- Staying close for reassurance – but call for help if there is a hazard or loss of control.
- Reduce situations which can cause disorientation. For example, make the surroundings familiar by putting familiar objects nearby. Avoid too many visitors, which can be overwhelming.
Ideas and concepts for when the person is calm:
- At times when the person is calm, make sure they eat and drink sufficiently.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Keep as regular a schedule as possible.
- When the patient is open to it, offer massage to the hands or back. A professional massager who is trained with Alzheimer’s patients can teach you.
- Commonly, caregivers provide strategic comments in a conversation. Generally, caregivers feel that it helps reduce the confusion or that the speaker will feel better.
Caregivers in the early stages of Alzheimer’s are often family members. Additionally, for a person with dementia in a residential facility, family is still an important part of their care.
National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and other awareness dates:
- honor the caregivers, who give of themselves so selflessly, and also,
- champion the cause of those who have Alzheimer’s
National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month
How Does National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month Help?
The disease itself is rampant and its effects are doubled. How is this? Since it touches the lives of the people with Alzheimer’s and also takes a toll on the caretakers.
Consequently, there are many organizations trying to make people more aware of the disease. They wish to publicize it and fundraise. Meanwhile, research continues to and try and find a cure.
So far, there is not cure for Alzheimer’s. Therefore, sufferers use drugs to manage the symptoms and live through the disease in the best way they can.
National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month Activities
This November, a positive effort to increase awareness, people will be:
- Wearing purple. Staff, residents and visiting family can show their support through their clothing.
- Education about Alzheimer’s. For example, education for residents, family, the public and re-education for healthcare professionals.
- Encouraging seniors to get tested. For example, if they or their family suspect Alzheimer’s.
- Sponsored events to raise funds for research. For instance, popular events have been a sponsored Memory Walk and the famous Walk to End Alzheimer’s
- Read up about Alzheimer’s in the Alzheimer’s Association virtual library
Firstly, we discussed the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Secondly, the article set forth an explanation about disorientation in seniors with Alzheimer’s. Also, some helpful tips were presented. Finally, we showed the importance of awareness through National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and its activities.
Photo by Jaimie Harmsen on Unsplash
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