How Does Alzheimer’s Affect the Brains of Aging Adults?

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Effects of Alzheimer's on the Senior Brain in Columbus, OH

Unlike typical dementia that develops naturally as individuals age, Alzheimer’s disease is a specific disease process that targets the tissues of the brain. The presence of specific cerebral changes is the hallmark of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. If you have an aging parent who has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or you’re currently providing Alzheimer’s care, learning how Alzheimer’s affects the brain can help you provide the highest level of care for your loved one. 

Abnormal Structures 

Seniors living with Alzheimer’s have been found to have an exceedingly large number of certain abnormal structures in their brains. Excessive amounts of plaques and tangles spread throughout the affected brain in a typical pattern that begins in the critical area where memory is controlled. Plaques are a buildup of protein-like particles that wedge themselves in the gaps between nerve cells and cause a disruption in the electrical activity of the brain. Tangles are curled fibers that block cells and interrupt cerebral activity. The progression of the disease can be monitored by positron emission tomography (PET) scanning.

Neuron Destruction 

Neurons are the brain’s cells and act as its communication highway. Alzheimer’s disease targets and destroys neurons and causes symptoms such as memory loss, disorderly behavior, and the inability to effectively process information. This can often cause a senior to be unable to perform daily activities independently. For instance, a senior with Alzheimer’s may require a caregiver to ensure safety when cooking meals, bathing, dressing, and more. 

Alzheimer’s disease is a serious health concern that can impact your loved one’s overall quality of life. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Disruption of Synapses 

Synapses are the microscopic spaces between neurons that act as junctions between communicating cells. Neurons interact by sending chemical signals, called neurotransmitters, to other parts of the brain. In Alzheimer’s, disruption is found at the synaptic junctions, and neurotransmitters become ineffective. 

There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Columbus at-home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Tissue Impairment 

A brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease has a different appearance than a normal brain. The disease process results in a progression of tissue destruction that causes the brain to shrink and darken. Cerebral changes may be present for up to 20 years before a diagnosis is made, and evidence of the disease becomes more apparent and predictable as it progresses. 

If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Columbus seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that promotes cognitive health and delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (614) 481-8888.


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