Tag Archive: Alzheimer’s

Valley Healthcare

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. As is the goal for awareness months, it is important to raise the profile of Alzheimer’s, including its symptoms and treatments.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia. It affects 1 person out of 20 over the age of 65, and 1 in 3 seniors die of the disease. It is the sixth leading cause of death in America. The disease is associated with the ApoE4 protein of the brain, which increases risk ten-fold. With no cure, it is important to catch onto symptoms of the disease early to provide treatment. Symptoms include memory loss, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion, difficulty with spatial relationships, withdrawal and changes in mood and personality. Taken by themselves, some symptoms such as memory loss may be a cause of old age. But a recurrence or combination of these symptoms must be taken seriously.

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. Any links between prevention of the disease and a cure are tenuous – though certain studies show a link with diet, diabetes, smoking, and physical activity. Some treatments that target the plaque of the brain increase brain activity, but do not slow the death of brain cells. Recent breakthroughs that halted the death of brain cells in mice have raised hope, although these treatments have yet to be replicated in human brains.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and for many, that means a month that finally recognizes the vital role that caregivers and support persons serve for those living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, there are a variety of emotional and physical adjustments being made in order to cope with such a diagnosis. Caregivers and support persons are no exception to this process. Whether that means addressing concerns about how care will be provided, arranging power of attorney or guardianship of a loved one, making living arrangements, or other concerns, the role that caregivers serve is irreplaceable in the life of someone living with Alzheimer’s.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a patient and his or her caregiver will want to study up on and make decisions about some key points of care.

  • Help your loved one find a support group or outlet in an effort to address the emotional and mental rigors of dealing with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Fear, grief, and depression can sometimes result from a life-altering event like an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. By helping your loved one (and in many cases, the caregiver themselves) locate a supportive outlet or group, this transition will be made much less difficult than “going it alone.”
  • Provide your loved one with ways to help organize important information like appointments, phone numbers, and events coming up. Even something as simple as a calendar with family birthdates and full names can be helpful. As time goes on, you may be called upon to help provide more information and more assistance in recalling things that used to be easier for your loved one.
  • Discuss living arrangements and other things like patient’s rights and power of attorney. These are not always the easiest discussions to have, especially after such a shocking diagnosis. However, by clearing these issues ahead of time, you will save your loved one so much worry and stress and they can get back to the business of learning to live with Alzheimer’s.
  • Try to develop a daily routine. Routines are so important in all stages of life – and patients dealing with Alzheimer’s are certainly no exception. Little points of their day will be a source of happiness and joy, and making sure that a routine is established will be so worth it to you in terms of keeping yourself organized and on-schedule. Simple things like a morning paper and coffee, or a walk around the local wellness center track will end up making a huge difference in overall quality of life for your loved one.

For more great tips on helping your loved one through the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, please visit www.alz.org.

Valley Healthcare System, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit, Charitable Organization.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), in accordance with the Federally Supported Health Centers Assistance Act, as amended, sections 224(g)-(n) of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n), deems Valley Healthcare System, Inc. to be an employee of the PHS which provides liability protection under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)

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