An interview with Memory Care Manager, Kate Ellis
written by Cherelle Perry
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that alters memory function and behavior. This cognitive decline is a neurological condition that usually occurs in older adults or seniors. Alzheimer’s Awareness Day is designed to educate and eliminate the stigma surrounding dementia. When discussing Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to acknowledge not only the individuals who battle with it but the families and caregivers as well.
“Alzheimer’s and Dementia affect the family as a whole.” -Kate Ellis, Memory Care Manager
Memory Care Manager, Kate Ellis, offers a wealth of advice regarding Alzheimer’s disease management. She discusses several indicators to determine if a family member may have Alzheimer’s or age-related memory loss. Elopement, behavioral outbursts, and inability to complete activities of daily living (ADLs) are all signs to look out for. Also, frustration, mood swings, or anger are common symptoms as well. According to Kate, this is attributed to increased agitation as memory loss progresses.
However, there are several steps that can be taken to delay the development of Alzheimer’s. Depending on the level of functionality of the individual, treatment options can vary. To determine the best level of care Kate recommends seeing a specialist for an exam. “Alzheimer’s you can actually see on a scan,” Kate explains. Typically, this process will include the administration of screening or questionnaire. She further discusses a plaque buildup that assists neurologists in tracking advancement.
These cognitive assessments are critical to providing caregivers a clear idea of how to proceed and what accommodations may need to be made.
“Once you get that baseline, you know if there are any changes or a need for medication” she offers. There are also several medication options for Alzheimer’s that as Kate describes, “keeps it in check without progression.”
Another essential to remember when managing Alzheimer’s disease is acknowledging the emotional impact the disease has on families, their loved ones, and those providing care. Taking care of yourself is paramount to be able to properly take care of others. Consider taking a break, “even if it’s just a few hours a day.”
“Alzheimer’s and dementia affect the family as a whole,” she continues. There are several resources available to assist. For example, Kate recommends memory care as a benefit that is “better for your parent because they are engaged and they have care.”
Alzheimer’s does not define your life. Sharing the responsibility whether with people you trust, experienced professionals like Kate, or memory facilities, create the best opportunities for your family members to thrive. Through treatment, proactive steps, and specialized care you can improve the quality of life for your loved one.