Alzheimer's continues to be one of the most common causes of dementia and other cognitive impairments. It is a type of brain disease that is degenerative, which means it gets worse with time. Alzheimer's is a kind of disease that takes its toll on not only the patients but also their caregivers and families.
The early onset of Alzheimer's has little to no signs, but as the disease progresses, the symptoms become severe and drastic. It begins with a gradual loss of memory followed by a speech problem, impulsive behavior, and, by the end of it all, the patient loses all their abilities to recognize or care for themselves.
While the disease generally affects people over the age of 65, there have some extremely rare cases of people getting Alzheimer's at a young age, too.
Scientists all over the world are still trying to decipher the main cause of this disease and the complex brain changes involved in its onset and progression. What causes Alzheimer's is still not clearly proven. The disease, unfortunately, still remains poorly understood and essentially incurable.
According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's is named after a German doctor Alois Alzheimer.
In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer had a patient suffering from a rare mental illness. Her symptoms included: memory loss, unstable behavior, and language problem. After her death, he inspected her brain and discovered that the woman had many abnormal clumps, which we called amyloid plaques today, and knotted bundles of fibers known as neurofibrillary, that caused a lot of damage to her brain cells, leading to its complete degradation.
These plaques and knotted bundles of fibers in the brain discovered by Dr. Alzheimer, still remain one of the most prominent features of Alzheimer's disease.
In the beginning, the disease has few or no symptoms at all. It is believed that the damage to the brain begins much earlier than any kind of symptom is noticeable.
People above the age of 65 are at much higher risk of getting Alzheimer's, and according to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, this risk doubles every five years after that age.
Initially, the patient notices a slight loss of short term memory, difficulty in remembering a common word, language problems, or trouble in recalling the names or faces of known relatives.
The symptoms are different for the various stages of the disease. They are less severe during its onset, and, by the final stage, the patient loses all their abilities and requires around-the-clock assistance.
Severe Alzheimer's makes the patient completely dependent on full-time care. Patients have difficulties even in communicating and remembering themselves. Near the end, most patients are completely bedridden as their body fails to do any work at all.
Alzheimer's is a disease that takes a very long time to reveal all its symptoms. Many people continue to live for years after being diagnosed with the disease. During the early stages of the disease, most individuals can carry out their routine tasks with little help and assistance.
Getting dressed is one such task that patients might need some help with.
People in the early stages of Alzheimer's find it a little difficult to wear clothes, while those dealing with the severe stage need their caregivers to help them put on clothes. Either way, it becomes essential to make the task of getting dressed easier for people with Alzheimer's. And this is where adaptive clothing comes to the rescue.
With adaptive clothing, getting dressed becomes much easier for people with Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's is a disease that makes it difficult for people to do even the simplest of tasks like eating their meals, filling a glass of water, or reading a book. As the brain of a patient slows down, so does their ability to do routine tasks.
Getting dressed is one such task that becomes complicated for people dealing with the disease. But, with adaptive clothing, wearing clothes has become somewhat easier for both the patients and their caregivers.
Adaptive clothing is clothing specially designed for people with disabilities, those dealing with dementia, Alzheimer's, or the elderly who have difficulty getting dressed.
Adaptive clothes are designed in such a way that they provide rear-closure. This means they typically don't have buttons and zippers as these can be tricky to open and close for people dealing with a cognitive impairment. Instead, these clothes use Velcro and hidden magnets, making getting dressed easier for both the individual who is suffering from Alzheimer's and their caregivers.
For people with the early onset of the disease, who can still manage to get clothed independently, clothes with little or no rear-closure are much more suitable. Softer and stretchy fabrics should be preferred as they are easier and more comfortable to wear.
As the disease progresses, the patients need their caregivers to get them dressed. In this case, adaptive clothes become indispensable. People with advanced Alzheimer's need clothes that don’t involve problematic undressing.
Such outfits are specially designed keeping in mind the dignity and modesty of the individuals so that they can feel safe and comfortable.
Innovations like adaptive clothing become much more necessary as the disease progresses. With the ease and comfort that it provides to both the patient and their caregivers, adaptive clothes have become a part of the lives of elderly people or those dealing with conditions that make getting dressed difficult for them.
That said, Alzheimer's is a condition that affects almost every sphere of an individual's life. However, as the effects develop slowly, with proper care and assistance, those struggling with the disease can lead a nearly normal life.
All that they need is a helping hand, some extra love and care, and a friendly guardian that won't give up on them. With some compassion and assistance from their families and loved ones, people with Alzheimer's can live comfortably.
Treat them with affection and patience, and they will do just fine.