Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes memory loss in stages. Each stage of memory loss occurs as a result of physical changes in the brain, which can include plaque formation between nerves and nerve tangles that result in tissue death. The first physical changes include nerve tangles and plaques in the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe, or the parts of the brain responsible for storing short-term memories. Here are some effects of Alzheimer’s on the brain’s memory systems.
Short-Term Memory Loss
The hippocampus is located in the temporal lobe and is among the first regions of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Nerve death and tissue damage in the hippocampus can be severe, resulting in dramatic changes in episodic memory, or short-term memory. The short-term memory is important when recalling recent events. Your loved one may be able to clearly remember events from youth, but might not remember events from the past month. Short-term memory loss doesn’t usually prevent someone from performing normal tasks, but it can make learning new skills difficult.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the many health conditions that could impact your loved one’s quality of life and make it difficult for him or her to manage daily tasks. 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 home care provider Colorado Springs, CO, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Difficulty Recalling Objects
The cerebellum is the part of the brain that stores semantic memory, which is responsible for storing information such as the name and appearance of common objects and how to categorize people, places, and things. For example, your loved one may have difficulty grouping pigs and cows together as farm animals, or he or she may forget the name of common household objects.
Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who do not have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. For trusted Colorado Springs Alzheimer’s care, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives.
Confusion During Multi-Step Tasks
The working memory is partially stored in the prefrontal cortex and is responsible for concentration. When Alzheimer’s disease affects the working memory, your loved one may not be able to perform tasks that require a longer attention span or involve several steps. For instance, your loved one may not be able to follow recipes or forget he or she is cooking and leave food untended on the cooktop. Because many tasks involve several steps, your loved one may need a caregiver to assist with daily self-care if the working memory is affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Your loved one may also have difficulty recognizing family members during the later stages of Alzheimer’s.
Difficulty Performing Automatic Skills
The procedural memory is usually the memory system least affected by Alzheimer’s disease. This part of the memory is responsible for automatic skills, or things that can be done without thinking. For instance, typing, riding a bike, and playing a musical instrument are activities that can be performed without thinking after becoming skilled at the activity. While some people with Alzheimer’s retain these types of motor-related skills, others experience a loss of procedural memory in the later stages of the disease. Seniors who experience procedural memory loss may have difficulty with activities like walking and swallowing. The progressive stages of Alzheimer’s results in worsening memory loss over time, with each stage affecting different parts of the brain.
Without proper training in Alzheimer’s care, it may be difficult to provide the care your loved one needs and deserves. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Colorado Springs, Colorado, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. If your loved one wants to age in the comfort of home, call us at (719) 822-1229 today.