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Alzheimer’s and Dementia – Knowing the Facts vs. the Myths

Did you know that 50 to 80 percent of dementia patients suffer from Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s affects a person’s ability to think clearly and remember how to do daily tasks, and it can change the person’s behavior; such as increased depression, withdrawal from social activities and cases of paranoia.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a trusted and reliable source of up to date information; education for caregivers and support for the entire family. Research is continuous, but there is no current cure of Alzheimer’s disease. There are treatments and medications that will slow down the effects of the symptoms.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Facts

One of the earliest, noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer’s is the inability or difficulty to retain new information. This is the first sign, because this disease affects the part of the brain that affects the ability to learn.

Keep in mind that most people who experience Alzheimer’s don’t realize that they are having a problem; so it is up to family and friends to notice the oncoming symptoms of the disease and seek professional help.

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging; let us discuss the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, and compare them to normal aging symptoms:

Memory loss is one of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s; especially when it comes to learning new information; they forget dates and important events, and will ask for the same information to be repeated several times. Memory changes in the normal aging process will entail forgetting appointments or names; but they will remember them shortly after.

A person with Alzheimer’s will have difficulty following a familiar family recipe or maintaining monthly bills (frequently overdrawn or paying a bill twice). A typical age related change will be just an occasional error when trying to balance a personal checkbook, but can be easily corrected.

Alzheimer sufferers will have trouble driving, remembering the rules to their favorite game or find a simple household chore difficult to complete. A person with normal age related changes will require assistance recording a TV show or how to use the settings on a microwave.

In some cases, Alzheimer symptoms can include visual difficultly, such as distinguishing colors; judging distance; and a distorted perception view. Age related visual changes are due to cataracts.

A person that is afflicted with Alzheimer’s will put things in unusual places, and will be unable to retrace their steps to know where the item is. A normal part of aging is, on occasion, misplacing an item like their reading glasses, but can later recall where were placed.

We all, no matter what age, make a poor financial decision once in a while. But the Alzheimer patients are more susceptible to money scams and give away large amounts of money to various and diversified organizations.

Feeling tired and voluntarily not wanting to attend a social gathering is normal; but someone who has to deal with Alzheimer’s will not be able to remember how to do their favorite hobby or are unable to keep up with their favorite sports team. They will become more and more withdrawn from being social, and getting the outside stimulation that is so desperately needed.

As we age, we have a routine that we like to follow, and may become confused or irritated when it is disrupted. The personality and mood of a person suffering with Alzheimer’s can change drastically for no apparent reason; they can become easily upset, confused, depressed, anxious, fearful, and suspicious.

Clearing Up the Myths

Let’s clear up some myths about Alzheimer’s disease:

It is NOT true that memory loss is a natural and normal part of the aging process.

Alzheimer’s disease is curable and not fatal is NOT true. Let us be totally clear – this disease does not discriminate; it kills your brain cells, and painfully and slowly will remove the ability to communicate, think, eat, walk, etc.

It is not true that only the elderly are affected by Alzheimer’s. There are 200,000 cases that are reported in people who are under 65 years of age.It was once thought (in the 1960’s) that drinking from aluminum cans or cooking in pots made of aluminum, lead to people getting Alzheimer’s; this is just not true.

Aspartame (aka: brand named NutraSweet and Equal) was believed to cause loss of memory. The FDA has conducted more than 100 clinical and laboratory studies to debunk this theory.

After extensive research by the best scientists; there is no link between dental fillings made of silver and the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Conclusion

If Alzheimer’s has touched your family in any way, know that you are not alone, seek support, and as a caregiver get fully educated to properly care for you loved ones. The 24 hour direct helpline for the Alzheimer’s Association is 1-800-272-3900 FREE.

 

 

Applewood Our House has four residential assisted living homes for those with memory care needs.

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