How to Understand Alzheimer’s Disease from Mishawaka Senior Care

Taking some of the mystery out of Alzheimer’s disease

Remembering sweet moments of past

While many people know the neurodegenerative disease called Alzheimer’s disease, most people simply know it as a form of dementia. Though this is a very simple definition, the reality of Alzheimer’s is more complex, and unfortunately, not widely understood.

At Heritage Point Memory Care and Transitional Assisted Living, we care for those with memory care needs such as Alzheimer’s. With so many years of experience taking care of loved ones with the disease, we’ve truly become experts in caring for those with memory challenges. And yet, some of the most important work we do is educating our residents’ loved ones and the general surrounding community about diseases like Alzheimer’s, that often hold a bit of mystery for so many.

What is Alzheimer’s?

A neurodegenerative disease, Alzheimer’s is the cause of 60-70% of the cases of dementia. The majority of these cases start at age 65 or older, though a small percentage, approximately 10%, starts as early-onset in one’s 30s – mid-60s. The majority of initial symptoms are cognitive, or part of mental functionality, and then the disease progresses to impair motor-functionality as well, likely due to cognitive impairment affecting one’s ability to complete simple functional tasks. A progressive disease, the typical life-span of someone recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is between 3 and 9 years.


Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s include difficulty recalling newly learned information, difficulty with language, and even semantic memory – or the memory of meanings or concepts. Additional early symptoms can include apathy and depression, though these symptoms often persist throughout the lifetime of the disease.

As the disease progresses, long-term memory, loss of vocabulary, and motor sequencing (physical activity), start to show impairment. Those with the disease can also show signs of aggression, confusion, delirium, and delusional misidentification syndrome. Physical symptoms can include urinary incontinence, loss of muscle mass and mobility, and an inability to care for themselves.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Like many diseases, early diagnosis is important, though this can be difficult. Cognitive testing can be done to diagnose and patients may be referred to a neurologist to measure signs of the disease and progression.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are some treatments including medicines that can manage symptoms, and widely practiced coping mechanisms that can aid in the management of behavioral symptoms. At Heritage Point, we work with your loved ones by bringing them the tools needed to treat and alleviate symptoms, like a healthy diet, exercise, sensory stimulation, and even opportunities for emotional expression.

Our kitchens adhere to the MIND diet, which combines a Mediterranean-inspired diet with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet that has proven to be excellent for brain health. Our facilities also include a sensory spa, which offers residents a chance to partake in aromatherapy, sensory play, and other activities that help alleviate tension and mitigate aggression, anxiety, and depression. One of the most important aspects of our community is the actual community itself. Encouraging social connections and maintaining relationships with others is one of the most important ways your loved ones can stimulate their brain health.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for you or your loved one can feel scary, but you’re not alone. Our incredible professional team is here to support you through this challenging diagnosis and to make your transition as smooth and educated as possible.

If you are interested in learning more, contact us to schedule a tour for the Heritage Point senior living community in Mishawaka, Indiana.

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