As you grow older, you imagine a world where you don’t fear spending your golden years in a state of complete mental decline. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. The natural process of aging is often marked by many changes, not only in the body but also the brain. People of all ages are battling brain impairment, a healthcare crisis of epic proportions. Due to changes in the brain that happen as we age, cognitive decline becomes more pronounced and this results in certain conditions like Alzheimer\’s disease. That’s why Alzheimer’s Awareness Day is so important.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. It is a state of mental and physical decline, specifically in the areas of memory, cognitive and physical weakness. Alzheimer\’s patients experience difficulty in learning and retaining new information. A feature of Alzheimer\’s disease is deficient brain energy where the brain lacks sufficient fuel and energy to ensure that it functions properly.
The rise of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer\’s disease is on a fast track to becoming a global health crisis. In the past decade, the number of Alzheimer\’s mortality rate has skyrocketed to a whopping 71%, making it the fifth biggest cause of death worldwide. Alzheimer’s generally begins to set in at 65 years of age and affects more than 60% of people above 95.
Symptoms and treatment
Memory loss is often the first noticeable sign of Alzheimer\’s disease. The patient may start asking repetitive questions, forgetting appointments, events, or even things recently discussed during a conversation. Other tell-tale signs are misplacing objects, as well as misinterpreting comments and forgetting names of family members
The majority of Alzheimer\’s patients can be offered medications and vaccines that ease the symptoms but do not stop progression. A ketogenic diet (which is a low carb and high fat diet) is also recommended and foods rich in turmeric, cinnamon, and grapeseed are beneficial.
Alzheimer’s and your family members
Alzheimers-related changes affect not only the patient, but also family members and care-givers. As the disease progresses patients become less interested in the world around them and may imagine things that are not there. They often become paranoid, hiding objects from others or believing family and caregivers are hiding or stealing their possessions. Alzheimer’s patients often pace and fret. It’s important for you to keep calm and keep things simple. Have a daily routine, so the person knows when certain things happen and reassure the person that they are safe.
Alzheimer’s Awareness – how to help
There is no action too small in raising awareness about Alzheimer’s. You can share messages on social media and attend events and fundraising put on by associations near you. Many families require help in dealing with a family member who is affected by the disease, and there are various ways you can do so
1.Educate yourself about the disease. The more you know about its effects, the better equipped you’ll be to know how to respond to a patient.
2.Be patient. This progressive disease goes through various phases, and adjusting to the diagnosis is an ongoing process where each person reacts differently.
3.Engage the person in conversation. Even though it becomes difficult for the person to respond in conversation as the disease progresses, keep trying. It helps put them at ease and exercises the brain to help build up a reserve of brain cells.
4.Offer support to family members of people affected by Alzheimer’s by staying in touch, offering reprieve, and just showing love, care and support.
5.Support the Alzheimer\’s cause.
Alzheimer’s Awareness 2022: Forget-me-not
The focus for this year\’s campaign will have a special focus on post-diagnosis support. This campaign will be aimed at showing support for families and people living with dementia following a diagnosis. Get yourself educated on the disease so you can offer the best support to someone you know. Wear the colour purple this Alzheimer’s awareness month, or a forget-me-not pin badge to show your support.
Sources: Alzheimer’s Awareness