“It’s just old age, don’t be concerned about it. We’ll all be there someday.”
I recall hearing those statements as a child when Granny would forget the simplest of things. It was common to believe that, as she got older, she would automatically lose her memory. Thankfully, today there are ways to differentiate between the normal aging process and those more severe problems that need to be addressed.
Often some of those symptoms are due to vitamin deficiencies, medication side effects, or other conditions that can be treated. It is so very important to be observant, keep notes, and inform the medical staff of any changes in memory or behavior.
It is difficult to care for someone and watch them begin to lose their ability to think, talk, or connect with others in a rational way. Both Alzheimer’s and dementia can strike people as young as 30s; they are not simply diseases of the elderly.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It destroys brain cells thus causing varying states of memory loss. Through clinical trials and advanced research, progress has been made on slowing down this process; however, there is no known cure at this time.
I find it interesting that, at least in the early stages, most caregivers are family members. Nearly 15 percent of those are long-distance caregivers, living an hour or more away from their loved ones. If you find yourself in this situation, know you are not alone. There are helps out there for you and others who have walked the path before you.
One helpful tool is a daily journal. You cannot possibly write down everything but you can note the major changes in a person’s behavior. Did your loved one simply forget an appointment this week, or has this been happening more frequently? As you are faithful to write down changes, you may see a pattern develop which could prove helpful in treatment.
One of the best helps I have found is in a book featuring 300 very good suggestions and helps. Whether dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you will find the tips easy to follow and extremely helpful.
I’m thankful we are learning more about dementia and other illnesses. I’m thankful for those of you who spend your valuable time caring for those who cannot care for themselves. Watch for future articles with helpful hints and encouragement.
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