Newest Alzheimer’s Research Now Says Disease May be an Autoimmune Disorder

caregiver-comforting-senior-ladyDiscovering a cure for Alzheimer’s disease has become as tangled as the tau threads that have long been considered to be the root cause of the disease. Yet now, research workers may be drawing one step nearer to untangling the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease by using another train of thought. The latest studies are leaning towards the potential of an inflammatory response in the brain, which raises the question: could Alzheimer’s disease really be an autoimmune disease?

Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis sufferers know all too well the repercussions of a hyperactive immune system. In a perfect world, our immunity shields us from viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that need to be eliminated. With an autoimmune disease, however, antibodies attack non-invasive, healthy cells, generating inflammation and other unpleasant effects.

In earlier Alzheimer’s disease research, those infamous amyloid plaques have been the focus. Yet we also know that even in healthy brains, these plaques are present and are thought to carry out some form of helpful purpose. The immune system concentrates on these plaques, destroying them as well as potentially healthy cells in the process: suggestive of a potential autoimmune response.

This unconventional new strategy to researching and formulating treatment options for Alzheimer’s has earned lead author of the study, Don Weaver, MD, PhD, of the Krembil Brain Institute, the 2022 Oskar Fischer Prize, which “recognizes innovative ideas in Alzheimer’s research that look beyond prevailing theories.”

For the rest of us, it provides hope that a cure for the disease that impacts a multitude of people could be around the corner. Until then, turn to Generations at Home for compassionate, creative, and skilled Alzheimer’s care services that help those with Alzheimer’s disease continue to live to their fullest potential in the homes they love. Our caregivers are adept in helping those with dementia and the families who love them to better deal with some of the more disturbing aspects of the disease, such as:

  • Wandering and asking to go “home”
  • Agitation, aggression, and other difficult and strong emotions
  • Increased discomfort in the late afternoon and evening hours (sundowning)
  • Repetitive conversations and behaviors
  • Memory loss
  • And much more

We will work together with your family to provide as much or as little care as needed to provide you with the breaks from caregiving you need for your own health and wellness. After all, caring for a loved one with dementia is never a one-person undertaking, particularly as the disease progresses. Taking time away to care for yourself and to recharge is extremely important for you and your family as well as for the individual with dementia. A well-rested care provider is more patient and better prepared to supply the level of care a senior with dementia needs and deserves.

Call us at 727-940-3414 for additional helpful dementia care resources, and to arrange a free in-home consultation to learn more about how our dementia care experts can help improve quality of life for a person you love.

Your Guide to Starting Family Caregiving: How to Best Care for Someone with a New Diagnosis

family-caregiver-talking-with-senior-womanIt may have been suspected, or maybe broadsided you out of the blue. Mom has just received the official diagnosis for a progressive disease that is going to make independent life difficult. While there are a number of unknowns, one thing is for sure: she’s adamant about remaining at home – meaning you will have some decisions to make on how to provide for the care she’ll need and what starting family caregiving looks like.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with what to expect next, these tips can certainly help.

  • Learn as much as you’re able in regards to the disease. The older adult’s physician can provide you with resources and educational materials to help you know what to anticipate and also to increase confidence in your family caregiving role.
  • Prioritize organization. Create a folder to keep important paperwork: prescription details, test results, contact information for doctors’ offices together with the pharmacy, and any other pertinent medical information. Start a journal to help monitor any changes in condition or concerns that arise, as well as the details surrounding those changes.
  • Put aside past hurts. A new diagnosis could cause old family dynamics to resurface. If unsettled issues are interfering with your ability to provide the best care, turn to the support of a professional therapist to work through them.
  • Establish boundaries together. Talk to the senior about how much and what sort of assistance would be beneficial. It is normal to want to step in and take control, nevertheless, it’s vital for the senior to maintain as much independence and control as possible.
  • Take proper care of yourself, too. Your personal health and wellness are incredibly important. And, the level of care you provide can be compromised if for example, your own needs are not being met. Prioritize and designate time each day for self-care by seeking out and accepting help from others.

It is vital to know about the risk for depression and caregiver burnout, and to take the appropriate steps immediately if you begin to experience red flags including:

  • Increased anxiety, agitation, and irritability
  • Retreating from social interactions
  • Lack of interest in once-enjoyed pastimes
  • Resentment
  • Lack of appetite
  • Issues with falling or staying asleep
  • Challenges with focus and concentration
  • Fatigue

Locating a dependable care partner provides time to see the doctor for a checkup to rule out any other potential health issues, to talk with a therapist to effectively work through the numerous emotions involved in caregiving, and to relax and recharge.

The caregiving team at Generations at Home is here with additional resources for family caregivers, in addition to skilled, dependable respite care services that enable for a healthier life balance. Contact us for a free in-home consultation to find out more about home care in Tarpon Springs and the surrounding areas.