12 November 2009

Dementia and Alzheimer Disease

Alzheimer Disease'mental healthWhat is dementia?
First, dementia is not part of the normal aging process. Although forms of dementia are common among the senior population, it is not a natural aspect of aging. As we age, we usually have a decline in the efficiency of accessing our memory. This is very common. Consider our brain as “library of information”. When we are young, our library is only partially filled. As we go forward in life our “library” fills up. In our senior years, our librarian must search through many floors of files to be able to recall information. This process just takes time. Thus, our memory efficiency will decline. The second component of memory is accuracy. Memory accuracy is the key point of concern with dementia-related illness. Let’s consider the following example: I am driving to an appointment. I have not visited the address for awhile. I forget the name of the location’s street address. Sound familiar? This is efficiency memory loss. I do not despair because I carry my Palm Pilot everywhere. Now let’s suppose that one cannot find one’s way home from a frequently visited location. This situation represents an accuracy issue.
Dementia is a brain disorder that affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. Alzheimer’s disease
is the most common form of dementia. This disease involves the parts of the brain that control thought, language and memory. According to the National Institute of Aging, scientists still do not know what causes AD and there is no cure.
The Alzheimer’s Association (1996) reported: the risk of AD increases exponentially with age, doubling each decade after age 65. With life expectancies increasing significantly, the number of cases could double every 20 years. Twenty years ago, AD was not commonly mentioned in the press. This is because people were on average not living as long and death took place before the AD had a chance to develop.
10 Warning Signs of AD (Alzheimer’s Association):
  1. Memory loss that effects job skills or performance
  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  3. Forgetting simple words or using inappropriate ones
  4. Getting lost
  5. Poor or decreased judgment
  6. Problems with abstract thinking, such as adding numbers
  7. Misplacing things or putting them in odd places
  8. Rapid changes in mood or behavior, often for no obvious reason
  9. Dramatic personality changes, either sudden or gradual
  10. Loss of initiative or disinterest in one’s usual pursuits
Caring for most persons with AD is physically and emotionally demanding. The rate of progression various from person to person – but progression of AD is usually slow and steady. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that from the time of onset, the lifetime of a person with AD can range form 3-20 years.

John B. Linvill, Jr., CSA


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Ish on November 13, 2009 at 4:53 AM said...

Alzheimer is a really scary condition, the best thing to do is prevention. do more often some mind exercise, healthy diet, and exercise. nice post

@_T!ka on November 14, 2009 at 5:24 PM said...

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