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April 17, 2018

Alzheimer’s in People with Down Syndrome

People with Down syndrome have a life expectancy of between 55 and 60 years. As they get older, people with Down syndrome are at a heightened risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, 50 percent or more of people with Downs will develop Alzheimer’s. Understanding the link and symptoms of Alzheimer’s in a person with Downs may help you recognize it in your own family member.

Link Between Alzheimer’s and Down Syndrome

Though the reason people with Down syndrome get Alzheimer’s more often isn’t known for certain, doctors think it has something to do with the extra copy of chromosome 21 that causes Downs. Because of their shortened life span, people with Downs are usually diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, which happens before a person turns 65.

Autopsies show that people with Downs have a significant amount of the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease by the time they turn 40. However, it’s important to note that not all who have these protein deposits get Alzheimer’s. Researchers are still working to discover why some people go on to develop Alzheimer’s and others do not.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s with Down Syndrome

As in people without Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s affects people differently. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms. Some common symptoms of Alzheimer’s in people with Downs are:

  • Less interest in socializing or talking with others.
  • Loss of interest or enthusiasm in activities they previously enjoyed.
  • Less ability to pay attention.
  • Feelings of sadness, fear, or anxiety.
  • Being abnormally irritable, aggressive, or uncooperative.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Adult onset seizures.
  • Changes in the ability to walk or in coordination.
  • Being noisier or more excitable than normal.

Home Care for People with Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease

When a person with Down syndrome develops Alzheimer’s disease, it can complicate their day to day care. They may require even more supervision than they once did. Home care can help families of people with Down syndrome to look after their loved one’s health and well-being. Some of the things home care can do are:

  • Ensure the safety of the person with Downs.
  • Help with general needs, like preparing meals and personal care.
  • Assist with meaningful activities, such as crafts, listening to music, or other interests.
  • Provide transportation to medical appointments.
  • Provide comfort and companionship.

A home care agency can help you to fill in the gaps of your loved one’s care schedule, sending a home care provider when family caregivers cannot be there. Home care providers can be scheduled for any time of the day, for just a few hours at a time, or for entire days or nights.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Elgin IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.


"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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