Is it Alzheimer’s or Old Age?

Is it Alzheimer’s or Old Age? Caregivers Help Local Families Recognize Crippling Disease

(November 2014)- Just in time for November’s National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, SYNERGY HomeCare, a leading in-home care organization with offices in our area, sends caregivers into the homes of the elderly to help families recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s.  These caregivers work with the elderly to keep them active and engaged, which promotes both physical and mental fitness. With more seniors living longer, Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, has become a national epidemic with no cure in sight.  

Consider this:

  • More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
  • Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's.
  • Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Active and Engaged:

SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are specially trained to work with Alzheimer’s patients. They keep the elderly engaged with activities such as:

  • Games - Research has shown playing games like Bingo can provide mental stimulation for people with cognitive disorders.
  • Puzzles - The problem-solving process is a cognitive exercise. The stimulation provided by these activities improves memory and brain function.
  • Toys - Depending on the progression of the person’s Alzheimer’s disease, toys can provide visual, auditory and cognitive stimulation.
  • Music Therapy - Studies have shown that music may reduce agitation and improve behavioral issues. Reminiscing through music can also help with verbal communication.  

While providing much needed respite for family caregivers, these caregivers may also help families to spot the differences between the normal signs of aging and the signs of Alzheimer’s disease.**

 Normal Aging

  • Occasionally forgetting names or appointments 
  • Occasionally forgetting why you entered a room or what you planned to say
  • Occasionally having trouble finding the right word.
  • Occasionally forgetting the day of the week or where you were going.
  • Occasionally making a bad decision or judgment call.

People's personalities do change somewhat with age.

Alzheimer’s Disease

  •  Frequent forgetfulness/inability to recall information.
  • Difficulty in completing everyday tasks.
  • Forgetting simple words or substituting unusual words.
  • Becoming disoriented in familiar surroundings.
  • Dressing inappropriately for the weather or giving away large sums of money.
  • Dramatic differences in personality.

 "Alzheimer's is irreversible and has many debilitating effects, such as memory loss and changes in personality,” says Richard Basch, president of SYNERGY HomeCare. “This can be overwhelming for families of sufferers who do their best to care for aging loved ones, but often don’t have the skills. Our caregivers are specially trained in dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to keep them safe and engaged."

Dot’s Story

Dot noticed her mom, Mary, was in trouble when she kept trying to start the keyless car she bought with a key – even though it starts with the push of a button.

Mary’s Alzheimer’s progressed slowly, but eventually, Dot had to take away her mother’s keys. That meant that Dot, a mother of two, had to take on an even bigger share of her mom’s care.

“I resented that Mom was not Mom,” says Dot. “I was not free to do all the things I wanted to do. It took time away from my family. My husband was feeling ignored by all the attention I was giving to my mother, and my blood pressure was higher than it should be. I hired a caregiver, and it improved my health and my marriage.”

A SYNERGY HomeCare caregiver now comes to Dot’s home a few days a week so she can take time for herself, whether that means working part-time or going to a movie with her husband.

Interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s?  We can help you put a local “face” on this critical issue. An expert from SYNERGY HomeCare is available to talk about:

  • The signs and stages of Alzheimer’s disease and how to cope with the changes
  • Importance of respite care for family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients
  • Easy activities to keep Alzheimer’s patients safe and engaged

This is a timely story that affects a huge portion of your audience as we observe National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.


About SYNERGY HomeCare:

Based in Gilbert Arizona, SYNERGY HomeCare is a national franchise of non-medical home care dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need -- including seniors, expectant moms, veterans, those suffering from sports injuries, debilitating illnesses, and more.  For additional information, please visit

** From The Comfort of HomeTM for Alzheimer's Disease: A Guide for Caregivers, CareTrust Publications © 2008