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.
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?”
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.