10. Alzheimer’s Disease

10. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s – It’s not the person, it’s the disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that attacks and destroys the connections between your brain cells.  It can lead to memory loss, thought and behavioral issues that seriously affect the work and life of the individual and his lifestyle. These changes give rise to the classical but tragic picture of a person who can walk and talk but “cannot make sense of the world,” says Scientific American. Today, Alzheimer’s disease ranks as the sixth leading global cause of death. Alzheimer’s disease does not currently have a cure, but symptoms can be treated so as to make their life easier and help them deal with the disease.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Short-term memory loss and states of uncertainty and disorientation can appear in the first stage of Alzheimer’s. This will eventually lead to permanent damage of the mental capacities. The patient will also lose his ability to recall, rationalize, reason, and learn.

At first each person will find it harder and harder to remember some things. They will start forgetting where they put their car keys, or the names of people. Then it will progress to long-term memory loss.

Here are some issues that can affect people with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • They will repeat the same words and phrases
  • They will forget about appointments or deadlines
  • They will put things in the wrong place or even in totally illogical places
  • The names of their family members are forgotten and the names of things they use every day.
  • Problems with being able to find a location.

Treatment for Alzheimer’s

The FDA has approved two drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease -cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. Neurologists may also prescribe medications for sleep loss, confusion, anxiety, insomnia and depression. These medications are prescribed to alleviate the symptoms that sometimes accompany Alzheimer’s disease.

Guidelines for coping with Alzheimer’s disease

A major aspect for coping with Alzheimer’s disease is developing a recovery strategy or treatment plan. The plan should adapt to the living environment and to the needs of the person. To help a person cope with Alzheimer’s disease, some steps may need to be taken:

  • Try keeping items in the same location in your house.  Keep keys, wallets, mobile phones, and other valuables in the same place so that they are not forgotten.
  • Organizing a time schedule with medicine, preferably once a day, or setting an alarm as a reminder.
  • Make use of cell phone locator software. This is helpful in the event that the person gets lost or forgets their directions.
  • Keep the family or family telephone numbers in a conveniently accessible place to assist them in case they forget.
  • To keep track of everyday schedules, use a calendar or whiteboard at home.
  • Take care of your place of residence and eliminate clutter.
  • Keeping family and friends around the patient is important for support.
  • Maintain a regular routine in order to reduce confusion and help the patient communicate.

What to take Home

If the person gets angry and fights back remember that it’s not the person fighting back it’s the disease.