June 14, 2015

[Alzheimer’s] I just Accept it for what it is, A Life Destroyer


                                                                            

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.  Losing a parent to this is always hard on any child. To see a strong and healthy person go to sickness is never easy , and even harder on a living spouse. . The medicines have come a long way fighting this. They have made some great advances for this cause.   Learning the ten signs is a good place to start.
  
1. Memory loss that effects daily life.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
4. Confusion with time or place
5. Trouble understanding visual images and partial relationships
6.  New problems with words in speaking or writing
7.  Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8.  Decreased or poor judgment
9.  Withdrawal from work or social activities
10. Changes in mood and personality

 The signs are sometimes very subtle in the beginning and hard to see. These will increase in frequency and strength of occurrence. I did not notice them at first as most children do not spend the time required to see it.  My mom was the first to say something to me about dad’s behavior. 
With early detection, you can:
Get the maximum benefit from available treatments – You can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help you maintain a level of independence longer. You may also increase your chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research. There has been huge strides with the use of THC for the treatment.

  Alzheimer's worsens over time. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions. 

  Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer's (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s. This is where i come into . I was diagnosed with it at 42 years of age. So I had experienced my dad's battle with it, after watching my Aunt suffer thru it before passing. Only to discover I would also be Experiencing it for myself . I have seen no need in telling my Family. I was never very close with my siblings. I am sure they hold me distance against me. I only did it to protect myself from what was coming to me in the years coming now. 
   

  My parents where always distant after I moved away from home. I was at some distance so its progression was not easily evident to me. My mother was seeing it and living it more and more each day I would try with medical advice about the latest for dad. I know because I am looking into it for myself. Dad’s mental state became important to me in relationship what mine own would be.

 I educated myself on Alzheimer’s to help mom and learn more with dad’s condition. As I age it will become more beneficial for to me as well.  I would recommend www.alzheimersnavigator.org as a good place to begin your journey with it.  It’s very beneficial for the patient and the caregiver.  In most cases the caregiver if it’s a family member they will suffer more thru the illness than the afflicted  They have a good memory in most cases, and they bare the memories of watching their loved one slowly fading away.

Alzheimer's disease typically progresses slowly in three general stages — mild (early-stage), moderate (middle-stage), and severe (late-stage). Since Alzheimer's affects people in different ways, each person will experience symptoms - or progress through Alzheimer's stages - differently.   The mild was hardly noticeable with dad but moderate you could tell it was affecting him. The ‘late stage’ took it out of my mom and those caring for him. Fate seeing it as it progressed. I started to notice the mild stage setting in with myself. My friends noticed it first and ask me to get checked since running in my Fathers’ family. My father makes the second to pass from that family tree of Alzheimer’s..  Watching my dad suffer with it has shown me my own future with it. I have not learned to deal with it, but how to accept it for what it is.

 Alzheimer’s affect more than just the afflicted, it affects the whole family. It takes a lot out of those caring for the patient in the last stage. The final stage requires 24 hour care. If this is left to the remaining spouse it can be difficult. Alzheimer kills more than just one patient it can destroy the whole family. Some times it will bring a family together other times it pushes them apart. I want each one to know this sickness affects more than just the patients of it. This sickness touches all who help or even know the patient. Family members can help the patient sometimes, other times confuse them even more.

There is no correct answer to dealing with it as a family unit.  Notice the little things, does your presence only add confusion to the patient that day? If so it is best not to be there.  Please educate yourselves on dealing with this. You as the surviving members of the family are the ones aware of everything that is going on and have memory of how things use to be.  The patient is the lucky one, they are the ones in the limbo of life. But those memories will accompany you for the rest of your life. Enjoy your time with the patient. Do not waste it trying to get them to remember something from your past. It only hurts the patient for a family member to ask “daddy do you remember me?”.  May be he/she will say yes the first time but to ask him over and over and to try and force him to remember, this only is adding confusion to an already confused live.

    If you find yourself in the situation to have a parent dealing with Alzheimer, Do your research on all the drugs available. Marijuana is showing better results than already used drugs for Alzheimer. Read the stories of people that went thru it with their love ones. Look at all options and weight out the effects on the patient. The patient is the important part and at the end they will not know you anyway. This is what the sickness takes. It can take all those memories you had over the years and it replaces them with just one “my father did not know me." This can be as harmful as the sickness to a healthy person. Do not let it replace your good ones for the bad ones of the final stage. So in short let Alzheimer's affect those that it does, but do not let it effect your mind if you do not suffer from it. It can cause damage for you that will last as long as you live. It can build resentments, it can destroy bridges and build walls. It can build huge voids  where there used to be memories for you.

Jeremy Hale

                                                                                                                 

Jeremy Hale is a Facebook Moderator
 for adamfoxie blog International 
(west Coast)

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