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World Alzheimers Month is NOW! - What Can We Do?

Posted by Administrator on 9/14/2013

It is WORLD ALZHEIMERS MONTH!

September is World Alzheimer's month. Shout it out - it is WORLD ALZHEIMERS MONTH!  Okay, most of us are not ready to shout it out.  Alzheimer's is a condition that is often not talked about or only behind closed doors.  True, it is a condition that affects the patient and family in ways that are very personal.  But not talking about it at all is also not doing service to the awareness that this condition needs. 

What Would an Ideal World Look Like for Alzheimers Patients?

I can think of a few wishes based on my work as an occupational therapist, going between physicians, patients, families, and care professionals: 
  1.  Physicians who did not discount concerns about memory loss as "old age", but instead who were mindful of dementia symptoms and the next steps of assessment and education to the patient and family.  I believe this has come a long way in the past 5 years, but continuing to advocate for answers and help from the medical community will help.
  2. Resources that were easy to find and access for both the patient and the family with perhaps a road map to help lead the way of where to start.  Starting with your local Alzheimer's Association can be a great first step to getting resources and support.  Also, occupational therapists trained in dementia care can be a very valuable resource and can be covered through Medicare and insurance with a physician's order.
  3. A community that understands and supports people with dementia.  This includes stores and restaurants, friends, and neighbors.  We all have a fear of the unknown.  Until dementia is less 'unknown' and more understood, people will shy away from being there when the support is needed most.  I don't blame these people for their fear but hope that events such as World Alzheimer's Month can help to chip away at it.
Those are a few wishes from me... What are you wishes?  Please share on our blog or on our Facebook page.  Together we can help raise awareness and support!
 
Coming this week....what conversations can you start and activities can you do for World Alzheimer's Day on September 21st?

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5 Comments

Yaja Kindermann
Date: 9/18/2013
I am my mum's main carer and have been for just over a year, giving up my second remaining job to be with her. She is 86 has vascular dementia apart form being almost totally deaf and curvature of the spine. Following a very bad accident 6 years ago when she fell down her stairs, her memory deteriorated severely and the dementia got steadily worse. But since feb 2013 I have been giving her as much organic coconut oil in her food as possible. Around 5 good desert spoons. From being a virtual recluse and terrified of her own shadow, (and me) I now can't keep her down! She has relapses from time to time but each time she springs back her present memory improves. She is recognising my reflection in the mirror as ME and not another person. She plays table tennis in the kitchen; her reflexes are killer! She is more opinionated and now makes her own choices. This might not be an answer for everyone, but for me it has been a miracle. Please investigate online....the wonders of coconut oil in dementia patients. The oil replaces the sheath that dementia and Alzheimer's destroys; the sheath which carries the messages along the neurones to the brain.
Rachell
Date: 9/18/2013
I often talked about about my grandfather having Alzheimer's. My grandmother and mother having dementia. However, I never spoke of my great-grandfather whom I suspect also had Alzheimer's Disease and my dad's eldest sister who had 10 children that died from Alzheimer's Disease. Her last years she did not know any of her children at all. I remember visiting her. She often asked me my name. I did not understand at the time I was still a teenage girl. Her family told me she had Alzheimer's Disease. Shortly after she had died. My father had taken it so hard. All these memories goes through my head and I wonder if when my time comes and my dementia advances will I be treated with respect that my grandparents were not. My family is more educated then my elders and I don't blame them they did the best they could. Also, they did not have a support network. I now am seeing the that I have come from the early stage to a step above. I have no fear there is just much education I have to teach my husband. My son has worked his way through nursing homes as a CNA to get his BA. So he is well aware of the stages of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. My daughter is well educated so there is no problem there. What is scary to me the most is the unknown and not having control. Thank you for sharing your article
Monica, MindStart
Date: 9/19/2013
Thanks Yaja and Rachell for your sharing your stories. Each person with dementia will have different needs and will respond to different things. One of the first steps is always education. Best wishes to you both.
John Hoogerbrugge
Date: 9/20/2013
We need to recognize that Alzheimer's destroys the brain but not the spirit and learn who to communicate with their spirit. I have worked with AD patients as a chaplain for 16 years and am convinced that they are more aware of what is going on around them than we think, but either they are unable to communicate that awareness to us or we don't recognize their form of communication. However, you can see it in their eyes and other facial and body expressions. They are able to pick up our body language so we must approach them peacefully and slowly. We should not ask them questions concerning their memory such as, "Do you know who I am?" Instead, we need to tune into their spirit and flow with what they are communicating to us. We do that through eye contact, touch, and a calm reassuring voice.
Monica from MindStart
Date: 9/27/2013
Wonderfully said, John. Thanks for your insight and comments.

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