Understanding And Coping With Alzheimer’s

September is recognized as World Alzheimer’s Month. This dedication is a reminder to our community, our nation, and most importantly our world about the familiar yet, often misunderstood illness. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that has no known cure, although there are treatments and pharmaceuticals that can reduce the symptoms temporarily.
The best way to help those with Alzheimer’s, is to be aware of “early onset” and  the gradual increase of signs and symptoms associated with the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association gives the following 10 warning signs:

• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. That can include reading, judging distance and determining color.

• Problems when speaking or writing. Those with the disease might repeat themselves, stop talking during a conversation and struggle with vocabulary.

• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.

• Decreased or poor judgment. This can include a change in decision-making and paying less attention to personal grooming.

• Withdrawal from work or social activities. Because of the changes they have experienced, a person with Alzheimer’s may stop being social.

• Changes in mood. The personality of people with the disease can become easily upset, anxious and confused.

• Challenges in planning or solving problems. That can include trouble following a recipe or tracking monthly bills.

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life, like forgetting important dates and events and repeatedly asking for the same

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure, like having trouble driving to a familiar location and managing a budget.

• Confusion with time and place. People with Alzheimer’s can have difficulty understanding the passage of time.

It may be a confusing and challenging time when you realize that your loved one is displaying these warning signs, but the best thing you can do is to schedule an appointment with your physician. Early prognosis means more time to control symptoms and more time to establish a plan for future care. As Alzheimer’s affects nearly 5.4 million Americans and 35.6 million world wide it is vital that we as community, as a nation, and as world citizens raise awareness about this progressive disease.

If you find yourself in need of support, we would encourage you to contact The Elizabeth Hospice at any time.  We are more than willing to assist you and your loved one with any of the challenges that you may be facing in your caregiving journey.

The Elizabeth Hospice’s Center for Compassionate Care is hosting a three-part lecture series designed for those who love someone with memory impairments. Thanks to community donations all are welcome to attend at no charge!

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