Alzheimer’s Disease occurs when there is an abnormal build-up of protein in and around the brain cells. Deposits of the protein tau tangle with brain cells, creating a decrease in chemical messengers (called neurotransmitters) working to send messages between brain cells. While it’s not known what exactly causes this process to begin, it is known that it often begins years before any symptoms start to appear.
Because of that, it’s important to know about the risk factors that may make it more likely for your parent to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these risk factors can help to lessen the effect they may have on your parent, and this is especially important if your parent has some of the risk factors that cannot be reduced.
Let’s look quickly at the risks you cannot reduce:
- Age. The risk for Alzheimer’s disease increases once a person is more than 65 years old.
- Family history. In some families, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the inheritance of a single gene and the risks of the condition being passed on are much higher.
- Down’s Syndrome. If you are caring for an older loved one who has Down’s Syndrome, his risk for Alzheimer’s is higher than those without Down’s.
Now, let’s look at those factors that you might be able to work with your parent and his senior care provider to help him address and possibly reduce his risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Head injuries. While more research is needed, there does seem to be some correlation between those who have sustained serious head injuries and their chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. As your parent ages, his balance may be harder to maintain, so having someone like a senior care provider help him walk to the car when it’s icy, or bring out the garbage down the steps, may help reduce the activities that could easily cause a fall for your parent.
- Obesity. Obesity can lead to cardiovascular disease which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Work with your parent and his physician to find a good exercise program as well as healthy food choices to avoid obesity. Your senior care provider can assist with making healthy meals or going for walks.
- Smoking. Quitting smoking is possibly the best health decision your parent can make in many ways, but did you know it can also reduce his risk of developing Alzheimer’s? Just another reason to encourage your aging parent to stop the habit sooner than later.
- Depression and loneliness. These factors have both been shown to increase the risk of someone developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Depression should be treated professionally and loneliness can be addressed by making sure your aging loved one has plenty of social interactions, such as with family or even having a senior care provider come for regular visits each week.
Before you even begin to see any symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, you can be working with your elderly loved one to reduce the risk factors, helping him to stay healthy in his later years.
If you or someone you know needs help with Senior Home Care in Ada, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.