Alzheimer’s disease can significantly affect someone’s life and increase their need for memory care. When dementia affects a loved one, you may have many questions, such as how do you know it’s time for memory care?
Many people also wonder what causes this disease to develop. What are the contributing factors? Can something like carbon monoxide lead to Alzheimer’s disease?
Several factors can affect the development of dementia. While carbon monoxide isn’t guaranteed to cause Alzheimer’s, it may increase your risk of developing this disease.
What Is Alzheimer’s?
Over 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, a common form of dementia. This disease can make it difficult to live independently because of its effects on a person’s cognitive ability. Someone with Alzheimer’s may have trouble with memory, but this disease can affect other aspects of daily life too.
Alzheimer’s can affect several aspects of your loved one’s thinking, behavior, and social skills, leading to:
- Impaired thinking and memory
- Changes in behavior
- Struggles with directions
- Impaired judgment
- Difficulty with communication
- Personality changes
- Emotional changes
What Is the Relationship Between Carbon Monoxide and Alzheimer’s?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas often used in stoves and heaters. It’s also produced by vehicle exhausts. It has no color, making it hard to detect when it leaks. Exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Several studies are related to dementia risk and carbon monoxide poisoning. A 2016 study found that someone with CO poisoning may have a higher risk of dementia. Additional research suggests CO poisoning may increase the risk of dementia in severe cases.
While carbon monoxide may not directly cause Alzheimer’s, it may increase your risk.
What Causes Alzheimer’s?
Experts today aren’t completely sure what the cause of Alzheimer’s is. However, the belief is that Alzheimer’s interferes with how the brain communicates, leading to memory loss, mood changes, and difficulty speaking.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t develop quickly—it can take years (sometimes up to a decade or longer) for someone to notice signs of this disease. It can worsen with time, affecting someone’s ability to live independently. You may not notice small changes in a loved one at first, but eventually the changes may become more obvious.
While there isn’t a definite cause of Alzheimer’s, many factors can increase your risk.
Alzheimer’s Risk Factors
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are several risk factors related to this disease, including:
- Age: One of the biggest risks for dementia is age—the older you get, the more likely you are to develop this disease. It’s important to recognize that Alzheimer’s is not always a part of aging, but in general, your risk of Alzheimer’s doubles every 5 years after 65.
- Head injury: Head injuries may increase your risk of future dementia, making it essential to protect your head as best as possible. Brain injuries can significantly impact your quality of life, whether they happen from a fall, a hit during sports, or another cause.
- Head-heart connection: Your brain and heart are 2 of the most important organs in the body. They have a nurturing relationship, with the heart pumping blood to the brain. Because of this, conditions that affect the heart may impact the brain, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
- Personal health: While no one knows what the future holds, taking care of your health can help prevent issues as you get older. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and tobacco and alcohol use may increase the risk of health issues like Alzheimer’s.
- Family history: Family history can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s. You may be more likely to develop this disease if other family members have it.
Memory Care Can Benefit Older Adults with Dementia
As Alzheimer’s progresses, it can affect your loved one’s ability to live independently. Everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, and walking can become harder. When cognitive ability worsens, older adults can benefit from extra help.
Memory care is a senior lifestyle option that can help older adults with dementia or other cognitive challenges. Through memory care, staff are available 24/7 for residents whenever they need support—someone can live independently while knowing there are people there to help.
Besides daily care, memory care also offers many services and experiences, including outdoor spaces and walking paths, home-cooked meals, and different scheduled events. There are many options for staying engaged and active.
See if Memory Care Is Right for Your Family
Memory care can help your loved one get the support they need, including daily meals, medication management, and more. Making the final decision for memory care can be difficult, but speaking to an expert can help. You can visit a senior living community in person or speak to a representative to learn more.
Contact Fox Trail Memory Care if you’re interested in memory care for a loved one.