Middle-aged and worried about your memory slips? You probably don’t have dementia. The majority of the memory slips that concern this age group, and even those significantly older, are due to stress and other factors rather than impending dementia. However, researchers have now found that people who are suffering from memory loss but are unaware of their problem are most likely developing the disease.
Increasingly, Alzheimer’s specialists and researchers stress the importance of early detection. In fact, most drugs now considered as possible methods for holding off Alzheimer’s symptoms seem to be dependent on starting the drug early – as much as a decade earlier than symptoms appear. The question that travels hand in hand with these studies is who should start these drugs if they do prove to be effective? It’s not prudent to simply give the drugs to the whole aging population.
It’s difficult to watch our parents age. As their hair grays, wrinkles form and age spots multiply, we adult children can find ourselves feeling protective. We want to keep them healthy. We want to know that they are safely at home when there’s the slightest risk of bad weather. We don’t want them taking risks that could result in an injury. That’s love, after all, and parents appreciate being loved. It’s a mistake, however, to make yourself the director of your parents’ lives simply because they are piling on years.
Our culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care.The crux of these conversations is that medicine will do everything possible and then when you give up you will go on hospice care.
Because Alzheimer’s disease is thought to develop for years before symptoms become evident, the earliest possible detection is very important, so that the onset of the disease may be delayed and the overall care improved through the years. and hopefully, as therapies are developed, reversed. But how do you know if you or your loved one may have it?
This Valentine’s Day, millions of spouses will be masking their pain as they struggle to celebrate a day dedicated to love. Their husband or wife who has dementia either doesn’t understand what the day is about or, worse yet, doesn't recognize them for who they are.
Dear Carol: My wife died of cancer three years ago. Her decline was long and slow, so when the end came there was some relief, along with the agonizing grief. I’ve slowly recovered enough to enjoy life. However, I’ve now been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD). I also have neuropathy which affects my balance. My wife had a great attitude during her illness and I’m determined to use her as my example for dealing with my own challenges. We had no children, and I have no siblings, but I have many wonderful friends who have been helping me with shopping. I’ve appointed a close friend as Power Of Attorney for health and financial reasons and hired a housekeeper who cleans and does some light cooking. She's wonderful, and we get along great, but the time will come when I will need more care. How do I start setting up help now, without going overboard and losing my privacy before I need to? PR
...Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about. This year, you will help your parents give each other Valentines cards. Or, you will comfort your widowed mother or father on this day that celebrates love. It's all around us. We can't deny it. So, we cope the best we can.
...Families may be instructed to puree all foods, but they could be unsure exactly what that means. Additionally, a plate with a pile of pureed meat, vegetables and other foods may not be very appealing to anyone, so arrangement of the food is important. The following suggestions should help, but may need to be modified if a patient has restrictions in their diet due to other medical conditions or has to have their liquids thickened.
Something most of us take for granted is our ability to swallow. There are many things that can contribute to swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) including stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, oral cancer or problems with teeth or dentures. In some situations the symptoms are obvious, but in others a person may see gradual changes and not realize that the problems a person is having could be due to dysphagia.