Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Alzheimer’s Awareness Day 9/21/11

By Diane Forrest, RN

Benefits of having Alzheimer’s disease

5. You never have to watch reruns on television.
4. You are always meeting new people.
3. You don`t have to remember the whines and complaints of your spouse.
2. You can hide your own Easter eggs.
1. Mysteries are always interesting.

Many people deal with serious issues with a bit of humor.  It is a type of coping mechanism.  Alzheimer's disease is a serious fatal disease.  Every 71 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer's disease. Today, it is estimated that about five million Americans and 30 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's disease. In the US, about 360,000 people are newly diagnosed every year. Alzheimer's affects about 10 percent of people ages 65 and up, and the prevalence doubles roughly every 10 years after age 65. Half of the population ages 85 and up may have Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear after age 60.  Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities, to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.

At this time there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s.  There are drugs available that will help slow down the process.
The goals in treating AD are to:
  • Slow the progression of the disease (although this is difficult to do)
  • Manage behavior problems, confusion, sleep problems, and agitation
  • Modify the home environment
  • Support family members and other caregivers

10 Warning Signs to look for are:
  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or problem solving
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or leisure.
  4. Confusion with time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood or personality

My mother-in-law is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. Just before they took her car keys away, she'd done a run into town to go to the drugstore.

When she got back, she gave an exasperated sigh. "I have to go back to town." We asked why. She didn't want to say, but finally confessed, "I forgot to pick up my Alzheimer's medication, and if you laugh, I'll kill you."

For more information on Alzheimer’s go to this site:

1 comment:

  1. The first onset of Alzheimer’s disease is the effect of the part of the brain that controls the way of thinking, retaining memory and speech. Here, the person affected might not be able to reason adequately, mostly behaves irrationally and not be able to solve common mathematical calculations, the person will generally forgets himself or not be able to remember that he just finished doing something, and difficulty in language. For more complete details please visit this site.

    Dementia specialist