By Sheila Robison, Economic Security Team Member
One of the hardest issues I have dealt with in life thus far is regarding dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a syndrome which affects a person’s mental cognitive tasks and reasoning in their everyday life. Dementia is an umbrella term which includes Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia may come on slowly or proceed rapidly after onset. Clinical diagnoses should come from a neuropsychiatric evaluation with a psychiatric medical specialist. Only a medical doctor in this field can evaluate such a condition and lead the patient and their family members down the right path of proper care.
Alzheimer’s is a terminal disease. There are three general stages to this disease: mild, moderate, and severe. Be aware that Alzheimer’s affects people in different ways therefore each person will progress through these stages differently. Many people struggle to learn how they can avoid getting dementia, but there is no cure and no treatment that will stop Alzheimer’s disease once it has begun.
So, today I urge you to educate yourself, learn about effects of the disease and how to respond to it. Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and you need to be ready. This disease will eventually damage the brain to the point of causing a slow death.
Be there for your family member. Stay in touch so you can be there in time of need to offer assistance and/or a reprieve to the caregiver of the patient. Be engaged in activities the caregiver or family member may need. Small gestures of help and kindness mean a lot. The best thing you can do is stay physically and emotionally strong so that the patient can get the care they deserve and most importantly, your love.