Archive for the ‘Daughter’ Category

h1

Taking Care of a Parent with Alzheimer’s

September 16, 2011

Your parents cared for you until adulthood and God willing when your parents become elderly, you will have to return the favor.  Many times elderly parents can maintain their independent living status, however, the leading cause of the elderly having to give up their independence is due to Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association this disease is one of the most serious forms of dementia and accounts for 50%-80% of all dementia cases. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, leading to loss of memory, thinking and other brain functions. Alzheimer’s is not a part of normal aging, but results from a complex pattern of abnormal changes. It usually develops slowly and gradually gets worse as more brain cells wither and die. Ultimately, Alzheimer’s is fatal, and currently, there is no cure.

The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information because Alzheimer’s changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As Alzheimer’s advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.  People with memory loss or other possible signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognize they have a problem. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends. (Alzheimer’s Association)

Scientists have identified factors that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s; the most important risk factors being —age, family history and heredity.  Additionally, because Latinos and African-Americans in the United States have higher rates of vascular disease, they also may be at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s. According to a growing body of evidence, risk factors for vascular disease — including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol — may also be risk factors for Alzheimer’s and stroke-related dementia. (Alzheimer’s Association)

No one wants to witness this type of deterioration in their parent, but it is increasingly becoming a reality for us.  The first step in handling this type of family crisis is understanding what you are dealing with and formulating a plan of care for your loved one.  Be passionate, respectful and understanding, because going from 100% independence to 100% dependence is a frightening and demoralizing event.  And if that doesn’t motivate you to understand, think about how you want to be cared for in your last days, and apply that same desire for dignity and respect to the needs and wants of your loved one.  

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, you are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association is the trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease.

Call our 24/7 Helpline: 800.272.3900
Locate a chapter in your community

Are you the caregiver of an elderly parent/  share your story, advice and knowledge in the comments section…share any website links you may have on information regarding this topic…KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

Advertisements