ReadersMagnet takes a look at the hardship of Alzheimer’s disease and how it affects both patient and loved ones.
There have been many published books about Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative illness that has affected millions of lives across the globe. In the United States alone, there are over 5 million Americans who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. There are also an estimated 5.8 million citizens age 65 and above living with Alzheimer’s dementia. Many of the published works about Alzheimer’s are medical books that examine the symptoms, progress, and other details about the disease. There are also book that record their personal journey of Alzheimer’s, both from patient and caretaker perspectives. Today, we are going to take a look at the hardships of Alzheimer’s and how it has affected not only the patients but also their family and loved ones.
Alzheimer’s Disease: The Slow and Hard Journey to Forgetfulness
We all know, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects mainly the brain and cognitive abilities of a person. Dementia, which is often associated with the disease, is actually a group of symptoms that affect intellectual and social abilities severely enough to interfere with the individual’s daily function. Although in many cases the progress is slow and often unnoticed until certain stages. Alzheimer’s disease is divided into 5 stages. The five stages are Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease, mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease and, severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Mayo Clinic,
“Stages of Alzheimer’s can last for years, possibly even decades. Although you won’t notice any changes, new imaging technologies can now identify deposits of a protein called amyloid-beta that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The ability to identify these early deposits may be especially important for clinical trials and in the future as new treatments are developed for Alzheimer’s disease.
Additional biomarkers — measures that can indicate an increased risk of disease — have been identified for Alzheimer’s disease. These biomarkers can be used to support the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, typically after symptoms appear.
Genetic tests also can tell you if you have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. These tests aren’t recommended for everyone, but you and your doctor can discuss whether genetic testing might be beneficial for you.
As with newer imaging techniques, biomarkers and genetic tests will become more important as new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are developed.”
Tips on How to Take Care of Someone You Love with Alzheimer’s
Below are some of the tips that caregivers and those who are currently caring for family members with Alzheimer’s. These tips were listed by nia.ni.gov.
- Keep things simple. Ask or say one thing at a time.
- Have a daily routine, so the person knows when certain things will happen.
- Reassure the person that he or she is safe and you are there to help.
- Focus on his or her feelings rather than words. For example, say, “You seem worried.”
- Don’t argue or try to reason with the person.
- Try not to show your frustration or anger. If you get upset, take deep breaths and count to 10. If it’s safe, leave the room for a few minutes.
- Use humor when you can.
- Give people who pace a lot a safe place to walk. Provide comfortable, sturdy shoes. Give them light snacks to eat as they walk, so they don’t lose too much weight and make sure they have enough to drink.
- Try using music, singing, or dancing to distract the person.
- Ask for help. For instance, say, “Let’s set the table” or “I need help folding the clothes.”
Knowing more about Alzheimer’s disease and other people’s journeys with it can be a great help for people who are currently battling the disease and their families. Reading medical books, memoirs, and other works of literature have proven to help family caretakers deal with Alzheimer’s disease. One book that comes to mind is Jack Weaver’s 2019 memoir Going Going: The Abduction of a Mind. In his book, Weaver chronicles his and his wife Janey’s 15-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. A retired chiropractor, Jack shares his accounts of how he and his wife journey with the disease including the frustrations, sorrow, challenges, as well as the lessons learned, faith renewed, and the transformation of their lives. It is a remarkable read that will inspire people to soldier on and never give up. Going, Going: The Abduction of the Mind will enrich not only our understanding of the illness but also how we view challenges and embrace a more positive mindset in dealing with Alzheimer’s.
To know more about Jack Weaver’s Going Going Going: The Abduction of a Mind, you can grab a copy or visit Jack Weaver’s website today.