Friday, July 6, 2012

Alzheimer's Awareness Week

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By Diane Forrest, RN

I received the following in an email.  I don’t know if the claims are true, but it is a fun puzzle to do.  I sent it to my cousin, who turned 50 last year.  I have been "giving him the business" all year about his age and his forgetfulness.  I encouraged him to eat blueberries for their ability to help with memory loss and sent him some Ginko Balboa which also claims to help with memory.  But those who are suffering with Alzheimer's have no cure yet.  This week is Alzheimer's Awareness week.  If you know someone who is affected by this disease, there are some places you can turn to for help.  There is a site you can visit, where you can find information on help for caregivers and help to donate for finding a cure.  

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Below are the 10 early warning signs of Alzheimer’s:

  1. Memory loss that affects daily lifeThis can be from forgetting recently learned information, to forgetting important dates or events, and asking for the same information over and over.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problemsThey may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisureOften find it hard to complete daily tasks.
  4. Confusion with time or placeThey may lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. They may forget where they are or how they got there.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships Vision problems, difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrasts are all signs of Alzheimer’s.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writingThey may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may also struggle with vocabulary, like calling things by the wrong name.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps They may put things in unusual places, or they may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. This will occur more frequently over time.
  8. Decreased or poor judgmentThey pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. Or may use poor judgment when dealing with money.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activitiesThey may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports.
  10. Changes in mood and personalityThey can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They can be easily upset when out of their comfort zone. 

If you notice any of these signs in a family member, encourage them to seek medical attention, early detection can slow the progress of the disease.

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As we older people get older still we all need to be concerned with Alzheimer's disease. This puzzle is easy to put together if you are not affected by Alzheimer's disease, but impossible to do for someone with the disease. Give it a try. If this puzzle is particularly difficult for you than your physician can offer you additional testing to check you for Alzheimer's. The sooner you deal with the disease the more years you will enjoy life. There have been some very remarkable new discoveries over the last year or two in the research to cure the disease. Nothing yet cures it but electrical stimulation of the brain seems the most promising along with other new drugs.

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A really neat puzzle
If you can put this puzzle together. Say goodbye to Alzheimer’s!

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