World Alzheimer’s Day
September 21 marks World Alzheimer’s Day. Each September, people unite from all corners of the world to raise awareness and challenge the stigma around Alzheimer’s disease and all types of dementia. Leaders in the Alzheimer’s community stress the importance of treatment, prevention, and knowledge of the disease.
Locally, the Heart of America Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association serves 65 counties in Missouri and Kansas. The organization’s vision is “A world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.™” The chapter offers support for families and patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as education and prevention training.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is not a single disease; it’s a broad term — like heart disease — that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Abnormal brain changes cause disorders grouped under the general term “dementia”. These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. They also affect behavior, feelings, and relationships.
Does dementia or Alzheimer’s happen to all people who age?
No, and many organizations that support this disease aim to get the message out that not all memory loss is dementia. Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that severe mental decline is a normal part of aging.
Are you Caring for Someone with Dementia or Alzheimer’s?
First of all, thank you. It is a tireless job where each day can end with sorrow and confusion for all parties.
Extended Distance Care – our lives here in the United States can be disparate and apart, with parents and children living all over the United States. Jenny lives in Columbus, Ohio, while Cindy, her mother with dementia, lives in Kansas City. Jenny is an only child and a single mother, and she wants to provide the best care for her mom but has to do it at a distance. How could Jenny accomplish that?
- Contact the local Alzheimer’s Association in Cindy’s town. They have an astonishing amount of resources and are an excellent place to take a beat & get a lot of information.
- The advancement of software such as “My Chart” has made doctor and medical information more readily shareable. If Jenny doesn’t have access to this kind of software, she can compile a list of all the doctors and medical offices that help care for her mother. Jenny will also want to gather the names and information of all of Cindy’s informal caregivers (neighbors and friends who check in on Cindy).
- Dementia is a progressive disease, so what worked last month might not be working today. Jenny can do a monthly check-in with Cindy to assess what is happening with Cindy and if the progression of the disease needs to cause a change in care.
- Cindy and Jenny need to work together to ensure Jenny has access to all the legal documents she needs to take care of her mom. This may include powers of attorneys (financial and medical) and a living will.
The Community Resource Finder provided by the Alzheimer’s Association is a vast resource for everyone touched by this cruel disease. https://bit.ly/3LalVRe