Alzheimer’s Awareness: Don’t forget them

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Worldwide, 55 million people live with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. This form is not a specific disease but an overall term that describes a group of symptoms. This June’s goal is to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s, so let’s think about this disease a little differently.

Watch this informative video for more information on this month’s observance and brain health.

I am a geriatric nurse practitioner, and I work with patients and families daily that are learning to live with Alzheimer’s. Additionally, I work with residents in long-term care memory units. I can attest to how the isolation during COVID-19 has affected cognition decline and increased isolation and loneliness. Residents with dementia cannot comprehend why their families could not visit.

My perspective

We need to remember those that got lost in the COVID-19 shuffle. They are alone and suffering. Please remember our elderly community and make time to visit with them whenever possible. A thirty-minute visit can have a significant impact on their health.

My sister’s father-in-law passed away from Alzheimer’s. His wife hid his memory issues for a long time before the family realized what was happening. This is a common occurrence, especially in our stoic elderly population that doesn’t want to bother friends and family.

My daughter-in-law’s father also suffers from this disease. He resides in a long-term care facility. This situation is difficult, but it leaves the family asking questions about their future. The question is always in the back of your mind “Will I eventually succumb to Alzheimer’s Disease?”

Not alone

The statistics sound daunting, but there is hope. Medications are available to help slow the disease, and research is ongoing. Resources are available to help conquer the burden for the caregiver. First and foremost, there is your family physician or practitioner. We can help direct you to these resources and find the best medication. Our social workers are also available to help. An array of Alzheimer’s Support groups also help with Alzheimer’s awareness.

Do not hesitate to reach out for help. We need to take care of your loved one with Alzheimer’s, but we also need to take care of you.

Rose Lorentz, APRN, A-GNPAlzheimer’s Awareness Month is a special time for Rose

Tri-County Health Care

Helping you age well: Rose Lorentz

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Rose Lorentz, APRN, A-GNP, has been working at Tri-County Health Care for over 40 years. Her career has spanned decades, introducing her to thousands of patients. Each patient is a unique individual that handles aging in their own way. We all age, and Rose believes that the older generation is a foundational pillar of our community, holding years of precious wisdom. Helping them age well is a primary goal of Rose and the rest of the Tri-County team.

“I loved listening to my grandparents and their stories. They have a lot of knowledge to impart to us. I want to make sure they get the care they deserve,” said Rose. Every morning, she does her rounds at Fair Oaks Lodge, addressing various medical problems and facilitating communication between patients and physicians. Rose specializes in wound and ostomy care; a big part of her job is tending to the wounds of elderly patients.

“I was a candy striper at our local nursing home and fell in love with the older residents. That’s when I knew I wanted to make a career out of helping to make their lives better.”

Rose is a primary care provider at Tri-County Health Care helping elderly patients.Dementia

Rose has considerable experience working with patients who have dementia. Patients dealing with memory loss and the slew of medical problems associated with dementia need a heightened level of care.

According to Rose, patients in memory care need to have human contact, not just in the clinical sense. They need to be treated like people. Instead of being left in a room, they need and deserve human touch. She often observes people arguing or treating dementia patients like children. This is incredibly detrimental. People with dementia are still humans. They deserve respect and Rose habitually goes out of her way to respectfully communicate with every patient during a visit.

The end of life

Facing death is an obstacle we will all face. When older adults reach the end of their lives, it stirs emotions not just in them but also in their families. Many times, it’s more difficult for the family to process the incoming loss of a loved one than it is for the patient to pass.

Rose has observed this many times. Rose and medical staff have to do everything they can to provide a comfortable atmosphere for their passing. “Many have no family to sit with them. At that point, you become their family,” explained Rose. She and the nursing home staff are like family to these patients and grieve when they die.

“I feel it is a privilege to be with someone at the end of their life. It is the closest you will get to God here on earth.”

Rose Lorentz, APRN, A-GNP

About Rose Lorentz

Rose Lorentz has been working in the medical field since 1977.  She specializes in wound, diabetic and geriatric care. In her off time, she enjoys quilting and gardening. Helping the elderly is a special passion that she holds very dear.