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Dementia and Alzheimer's Articles of Interest:

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease: An Introduction

Alzheimer's Brain: Degenerative Changes

Alzheimer's Brain: Degenerative Changes Page#2

Alzheimer's Diagnosis

Caregiving for the Alzheimer's patient: Is there a problem?

Alzheimer's Treatment

Long Term Care and Dementia

Long Term Care and Alzheimer's

Dementia: What are the various different diagnosis?

Dementia Diagnosis Page #2

Dementia Symptoms and Diagnosis  Page #3

Dementia Symptoms and Executive Functioning  Page #4

Memory Drugs:

Aricept Medication

Exelon Medication

Namenda Medication 

Senior Articles of Interest:

Cancer: A Death Sentence for the Elderly?

Chronic Pain: Won't it just go away?

Depression among the Elderly

Long term care insurance: What is it really?

Medicare: How will it help me?

Medicaid Program: What do I need to know?

Nursing Homes: What critical information should I know?

Prescription Medication: You have to get it right

Social Security: Can I get it now?

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Dealing With Dementia 

By: Alice Endy 

dealing with dementiaIn 1994 my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. At that time she had been demonstrating memory deficits for at least two years. My career had always been in the field of Geriatrics, the care of the elderly. I had worked with countless families in caring for their elder family members at home, in Assisted Living Facilities and in Nursing Homes.

My least favorite patient type was the Dementia patient. I know now that why I felt that way was
because I had never really walked in the shoes of the dementia patient.

In caring for my mother I have come to appreciate her uniqueness. Watching her struggle with her losses and struggling myself to come up with ideas to keep her moving and feeling good about herself has really helped me to see dementia through new eyes.

It is like caring for a child in reverse order. With a child we wait with anticipation as they grow through new stages. We watch for them to sit up, then take their first steps, potty train, talk, ride their first bike, and on and on.

Well, with aging and dementia, it really is the same process in reverse. Watch carefully for the subtle changes (losses) and then make the necessary adjustments in the environment and in ourselves.

For most elderly, as age advances so does the collecting of chronic conditions.

Chronic Conditions: to name a few arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, poor vision, reduced hearing, reduced hearing and reduced muscle strength.

Chronic diseases must be managed and it takes willingness on the part of the elder and often the
family, to learn about the disease, treatment and limitations.

Physical Changes: Aging happens over time, gradually over years. Abilities decline and needs increase. The ability to clean house, do the laundry, do yard work, grocery shop, participate in hobbies, entertain in the home, prepare fancy meals, handle finances, and to drive.

Physical changes often progress to personal care deficits fear of falling in the shower, they stop showering, walking distances that they were able to handle previously, toileting themselves without accidents, stop going out especially for social events.

A variety of reasons will often emerge if asked why they stopped doing something. Rarely will the whole truth be told. Denial is very strong due to the fear of being dependent on others and fear of being remove from their home. As the adult children we are obligated to watch carefully for these changes in our parents.

Cognitive Changes: When it comes to cognitive changes things do not get any easier. Approximately 50% of 85 year old have dementia. Their symptoms usually have been present a few years before diagnosis. Please read that again, 50% of 85 year olds have dementia. So many family members ignore the symptoms (they also suffer from denial) Your elder usually needs help long before he or she is getting the necessary support.

Elders with dementia have often lost the ability to reason, to react logically or correctly interpret
their surroundings. Often unhealthy or irrational decisions are made frequently related to safety and medications.

Page #2 Dealing With Dementia

About the Author: Alice Endy is a Registered Nurse with advanced certification as a Gerontological Nurse. Alice has helped thousands provide care and support to their elder family members. Alice has been a caregiver for her Mother who is in her twelfth year of Alzheimer’s Disease. http://www.AskNurseAlice.com

Webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate 

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