Alzheimer's disease is associated, in most cases, with old age. The incidence of it increases from about 5% at the age of 65, to nearly 50% in people over 85 years of age. Because of the age factor many people affected by Alzheimer's have pre-existing medical conditions. These need careful management and regular assessment to give the best quality of life.
I thought it might be helpful to take a quick look at some of the issues associated with co existing illnesses and Alzheimer's disease to help caregivers ideas on how best to respond.
- Seek the best and most appropriate treatments to address, not only an individual's physical needs, but their psychological ones too. It always has to be remembered that people with Alzheimer's can get sick too. Sometimes their symptoms can be dismissed as just symptoms of Alzheimer's so not treated properly. Pre-existing conditions can be given less priority than they deserve.
- Changes in behavior can be a sign of deterioration or changes in pre existing diseases. Physical causes such as pain, discomfort, swelling, changes in mood and level of consciousness can indicate this. Mood disorders such as depression, apathy, agitation and sensory symptoms such as hallucinations also need medical evaluation and treatment where appropriate.
- Having Alzheimer's disease does not preclude other types of coexisting dementia that can be managed or reversed with appropriate treatment. A doctor will be able to carry out tests and make a diagnosis is symptoms require.
- Encourage regular visits for people with Alzheimer's to see their doctor. 3 monthly visits or as often as the doctor requests will enable them monitor progress of their ongoing health issues and evaluate drug treatments and any side effects.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle. For example, a healthy diet, exercise, regular sleep, maintaining or encouraging hobbies and interests.
Health insurance for pre existing health conditions for people with Alzheimer's is a difficult area. Here is a link to more information New Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan and Government Website on Senior Health Insurance
Travel Insurance for people with certain conditions it is important to get protected in case of sickness or accident. You must be aware that most policies do not cover claims arising from a 'pre-existing medical condition or defect' so you need to make sure you are aware of the exact coverage you are taking out. Take your travel insurance and ensure you have the correct medical documents that will entitle you to healthcare abroad. Most times you will have to pay slightly higher premiums. Shop around for the best deals. More information on;