Recent Studies on Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s affects nearly 6 million people across the United States and Canada. It has a sometimes devastating impact on family members, loved ones, and especially caregivers . It’s interesting that its been pointed out that Alzheimer’s and Dementia affect women even more drastically than men when you look at the national figures… probably because women outlive men, 75% of Alzheimer patients are women. The issue also affects women more deeply in other ways…because women are traditionally the caregivers of the family; they often find themselves responsible for looking after elderly family members who may be afflicted. Oftentimes family members are unprepared for the changes Alzheimer’s can bring to their lives. It can be very upsetting, even on a basic level, for example, for family, and grandchildren who can’t understand why grandma or grandpa doesn’t know who the family members are any more, or may be exhibiting behaviors that are unfamiliar.
Alzheimer’s takes an emotional as well as a physical and mental toll on all involved. Caregivers say they can’t leave the patient alone at all, they have lost the ability to perform normal life In some cases, the onset of Alzheimer has been known to cause the patient to behave in shocking ways - violence, anger, assaults, even thing that could lead to criminal charges (theft, etc) as the understanding and impulse control of the patient could be compromised. In some instances, the caregivers have expressed the feeling that they no longer have a life of their own, because of the great care needs of the loved one with Alzheimer.
Aside from medical advancements to find a cure for Alzheimer’s support groups and agencies have come up with innovative programs to help, or reach those who are living with the disease.
In Wales, a support group encourages caregivers to bring patients out to events where they are able to try some thing new, from dance to music. This can help relieve depression and build community in their lives, something everyone needs.
While Alzheimer’s is often viewed as a disease specific to seniors, and its true that between age 65 and 75 the likelihood of diagnosis skyrockets…but many people don’t know that more and more younger people are being diagnosed with the disease. It’s important to recognize the warning signs, as the sooner someone knows there is a problem the sooner it can be dealt with. Estimates tell us that nearly15% of Alzheimer’s patients are under the age of 65, some being diagnosed as early as their 40s.
Some of the warning signs include memory loss that is beyond what the patient has experienced in the past, trouble in concentrating or doing thing they were always able to do before, becoming confused about where they are, or what they were going to do, new problems with speaking or writing, becoming withdrawn from social life, and even changes in mood and personality. Some of these signs can be indicative of other serious illnesses, so whether it's Alzheimer’s or not, it's important to see a doctor if you have concerns about yourself or a loved one.
It is recommended that people understand the early warning signs and take preventative measures where possible. This can include, among other things, diet, supplements, and things as simple as keeping the mind active – reading, crossword puzzles, and hobbies.
There is hope for treatment on the horizon, but for now our loved ones with Alzheimer’s depend on us to help them navigate their final years in a confusing world ; and future patients depend on the larger community supporting a cure!
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Tracy Lamourie is the President and Creative Director of Lamourie Public Relations & Marketing. In that world, she represents clients as diverse as politicians, entertainment figures, newsmakers, ethical businesses and not for profit groups whose aims she supports. Tracy also has a lot of media experience - radio, TV, newspapers and new media. She’s worked at various times as a television host, television producer, and radio host. She’s also a human rights and social justice activist with a long history of work on various international and local issues Tracy and her work on various social justice issues have also been featured on television broadcasts as varied as CBC’s The Fifth Estate, Court TV, A & E, CTV across North America.