Living with Alzheimer’s Disease

According to Living with Alzheimer’s (2006) by the year 2050, there could be anywhere from 11 to 60 million people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease is an increase in cell loss causing shrinking of the brain (Living with Alzheimer’s, 2006). There are no known cures at this time. Alzheimer’s Disease can have a massive impact on both the people that are diagnosed with it, the caregivers, and their families.

Many people get confused in the association of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Dementia is like a symptom and is not considered a disease although it can be diagnosed. Not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s Disease (Radford, J., 2018). Alzheimer’s is a medical diagnosis and can be split into three stages. The early stage is when the person still is mentally intact. They perform all their normal daily routines but are starting to experience some memory loss. They may forget names or words. Have trouble remembering names or places. They could be having trouble performing simple tasks. Feeling forgetful and misplacing things is normal at this stage (Alzheimer’s Association, 2018). The next stage is the middle stage. In this stage the progression is more apparent. The person might start forgetting their own personal history. Having more frequent outbursts or mood swings. They could have trouble recalling information. Other things with the body might start happening as well, like incontinence and changes in their sleep patterns (Alzheimer’s Association, 2018). The late stage is the last stage. By now significant changes are happening to cognition and personality. The person still speaks, but not remember the conversation or might not make sense. At this point they probably need daily assistance. They are confused on place or surroundings. They will become more and more confused and disoriented (Alzheimer’s Association, 2018).

Not remembering parts of my life would be the most stressful part. I would think that the beginning stages when I would still feel like me but have trouble focusing on life or forgetting simple things that I would not normally forget would be frustrating. It would be embarrassing. Having my family or friends not fully understand why I do not remember something would be a big burden to keep to myself. Many people at the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s suffer from anger, fear, anxiety, and denial (Living with Alzheimer’s, 2006). I can see why they would feel this way. There would be so many changes going on within my own head that I would not be able to express. This would make me angry. I personally have had grandparents who at the beginning stages make up answers to questions because they know that they should know the answer but cannot find the words. I have also seen many answer questions vaguely so that not to draw attention to the fact that they do not know the answer or what words to use.

The worst part, other than the initial discovery of a loved one having Alzheimer’s, would be the unknown. When my grandmother was diagnosed this was always my fear. I never knew each time that I would visit if that would be the last normal conversation with her. With Alzheimer’s, the person can change so rapidly. Those who have had a loved one get diagnosed with the disease may become depressed, angry, and scared as well (Living with Alzheimer’s, 2006). Another factor might be that the person recently diagnosed may have been the original caregiver to another person. This would put extra stress on the family. Now that family has two people to find or give care to. This would be both an emotional and financial obstacle. Catching the disease at the beginning stages is the most beneficial to the individual and family (Living with Alzheimer’s, 2006).

The disease is found more in Africa compared to the United States, but African Americans are diagnosed more here than those not of color. In a roundabout way that may mean that there is something happening in the United States that is different than what is happening in Africa. It is thought that a person’s genes contribute to the disease (Boyd & Bee, 2015, p.431). Scientists are trying to find a link between Alzheimer’s Disease and people with lower education. It is possible that people who do not use their mind a lot are more at risk (Alzheimer Europe, 2015).

Alzheimer’s Disease is cruel and relentless. Those who suffer from this disease are literally lost in their own minds. There are ways to cope. Keeping a daily journal of events to keep track and remind one’s self of things that have happened. Also, it is beneficial for the family and caregiver to go through old memories with the person to try to keep them thinking about their past. Telling the stories might help them hold on to them longer. Staying active in their daily activities promotes thinking and personal well-being. Exercise of the body and also cognitive exercise is helpful. Games that promote thinking keeps the brain sharp (Living with Alzheimer’s, 2006). There is no cure for the disease but there are ways to slow it down.

References

Alzheimer Europe, (2015). Who is Affected? Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://www.alzheimer-europe.org/Dementia/Alzheimer-s-disease/Who-is-affected-by-Alzheimer-s-disease

Alzheimer’s Association, (2018). Stages of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/stages

Boyd, D., & Bee, H. (2015). Lifespan Development. (p.431). Boston: Pearson.

Living with Alzheimer’s [Video file]. (2006). Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=103126&xtid=38788

Radford, J., (2018). Alzheimer’s and Dementia: What is the Difference? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/alzheimers-and-dementia-whats-the-difference/faq-20396861

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Living with Alzheimer's Disease. (2019, Apr 12). Retrieved December 7, 2021 , from
https://studydriver.com/living-with-alzheimers-disease/

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