Posted by: Jennifer Ridgeway, LPN Director on Friday, October 6, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
In light of the upcoming walk for Alzheimer's Association on October 8th in Atlantic City, I thought I would share some information that you may or may not already know. The walk is to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease and to raise money to further fund research to try to find a cure, come up with other medications to help slow the disease process and to help caregivers and family with resources needed. If you have attended a walk the flowers that are handed out by the association are different colors, each color represents why you are participating in the walk. Yellow is the color for caregivers, blue for those who have the disease, and orange for those who are supporters. This year, a new flower was introduced. The white flower is for the first survivor. That person does not exist at this time.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and destroys brain cells. As Alzheimer's advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation; mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking. Ultimately, Alzheimer's is fatal, and at this time, there is no cure. Early recognition is key in helping slow the disease process. Symptoms of early Alzheimer's include; difficulty performing tasks that take some thought (such as balancing a checkbook, playing complex games, and learning new information or routines), getting lost on familiar routes, trouble remembering the names of familiar objects, losing interest in things previously enjoyed, misplacing items and personality changes and/or loss of social skills. Symptoms of mid stage Alzheimer’s include; change in sleep patterns, delusions, depression, agitation, difficulty preparing meals, choosing proper clothing, and driving. Difficulty reading/writing. Forgetting events in one's life history and losing self-awareness. Hallucinations, arguments, striking out, and violent behavior. Poor judgment and loss of ability to recognize danger. Using the wrong word, mispronouncing words, or speaking in confusing sentences. Symptoms for people with severe AD include; unable to recognize family members, unable to perform basic activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, and bathing and no longer able to understand language. There is no proven way to prevent Alzheimer's but there are some measures that may help prevent/slow the onset. Eat a low-fat diet and consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Stay active, get plenty of exercise. Continue being mentally and socially active. Lastly, protect your head during risky activities to prevent brain injury. All of the information that I have provided you thus far is from different websites about Alzheimer's disease. Now I will provide you information based on my experience with working with
Dementia/Alzheimer's residents. First, they are still your parent, sibling, child, grandparent,etc..never forget where you came from. They were there for you growing up, please do not avoid them once they progress through the disease. No, they may not know who you are, but you know who they are. Secondly, it is ok to get upset even mad at the things are loved ones do, they do not understand what they are doing and should not be shamed for doing such things. Next, do not be in denial with your loved ones. Lastly, it is ok to ask for help.
Caring for someone with dementia is emotionally and physically draining. Do not blame yourself for “putting them in a home”, eventually they will consider it their “home”. I can go on and on about my opinions, but I won’t. If you have a loved one that is experiencing some early onset symptoms, please seek medical advice. Hope you enjoyed the information provided. Please feel free to contact me at anytime if you have a question and I will try to get you the help you need.