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Alzheimer’s Disease

Does your loved one or yourself have difficulty remembering things? Or they are often confused? Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive disease that potentially destroys memory along with other important mental functions. It is believed that Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia, which in turn causes an individuals intellectual and social skills to decrease. In addition, it is the brain cells that die, which then cause an individuals ability to remember things to decrease.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

At first, an individual may only experience the following:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Mild confusion

Although it is common for us to occasionally forget where we have left our keys or forget the name of colleagues that we may have just met, the ability that an individual with Alzheimer’s has to remember such things, only worsen and persist, which in turn affects their ability to work or socialize with others. Therefore, such individuals may experience the following:

  • An individual may ask the same question or make a statement over an over (they are not aware that they’ve already said or asked such thing)
  • An individual may forget they have appointments or the conversations they’ve had
  • Individuals tend to misplace items and often, such misplacements are in illogical locations
  • An individual tends to get lost (i.e. they may go out for a walk and not know how to get back or where they are)
  • An individual may forget their loved ones’ name or the names of everyday objects
  • Individuals may have a hard time finding the right words to describe an object

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have a hard time concentrating, thinking, and especially multitasking. Such difficulties may then lead to an individual not being able to recognize or deal with numbers. Not being able to then conduct the minimal task can then lead an individual to experience one or some of the following:

  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • An individual may then begin to isolate and avoid social situations
  • Change in their sleeping habits
  • Delusions (i.e. think their objects have been stolen because they cannot remember where they placed them)
  • An individual may also become irritable and aggressive
  • Have a hard time trusting others

What causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

Although the cause is not known nor is research clear, scientist’s belief that for most people, such disease is caused by genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. In addition, it is believed that such disease damages and kills brain cells, and when looking at brains affected by such disease after the person has passed, scientists have found tangles and plaques in the brain. Furthermore, Alzheimer’s is not a part of normal aging, but the risk of an individual developing such disease does increase after age 65.

How is Alzheimer’s Disease treated?

  • Medications
    • Cholinesterase inhibitors
    • Memantine

How can I help myself or someone I know cope with Alzheimer’s Disease?

  • Minimize memory-demanding tasks
  • Strengthen routine habits
  • Always keep items in the same place (i.e. keys, wallets, phones)
  • Make your bills & payments automatic
  • Carry a mobile phone that has a location capability (have numbers in contacts)
  • Make sure your regular appointments are the same day and at the same time
  • Keep a calendar
  • Avoid mirrors
    • Individuals with Alzheimer’s may find them confusing and frightening
  • Keep meaningful objects around the house (i.e. photographs)
  • Exercise
    • May help prevent cognitive decline & improve mood