Is it just normal aging, or could it be Alzheimer’s? Families celebrating the holidays are often left wondering if Mom forgetting her grandchild’s name is a fluke or if it’s the beginning of dementia. Memory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging. It may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s, a fatal brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. One in 8 Americans age 65+ will get Alzheimer’s disease, but not all changes in thinking or memory indicate Alzheimer’s
Following are the Alzheimer’s Association’s 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Every individual may experience one or more of these signs in different degrees.
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over or for help from family members for things they used to handle on their own.
What’s typical: Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later. Continue reading “A Holiday Reminder: Know the 10 Signs” »
Not sure what to get the caregiver you love for the holidays? Are you a caregiver who would appreciate help from friends and family more than any stocking stuffer? We’ve put together a holiday coupon book with a few ideas to help make a big difference in any caregiver’s life. So open it up, print it out and give the gift of caring this holiday season.
Click the following to download your Alzheimer’s Caregiver Holiday Coupon Book: HolidayCaregiver_Coupons
We wanted to share a handout we use often when people call our Helpline asking about medications. This document, written for us by pharmacists and physicians from UCSF’s Memory and Aging Center, reviews the medications commonly prescribed for the management of Alzheimer’s and many of the difficult behaviors associated with the disease, such as agitation, sun downing, anxiety and depression. It includes information about side effects and safety of these medications for people with the Alzheimer’s and we think is a great tool for any caregiver considering treatment for a loved one with the disease! Remember: thoughtful consideration of non-medication approaches to managing a problem behavior is important before considering drug therapy. PDF document: Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Medication
Helpful information related to this story:
Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials
Planning for Care Costs
Here’s what we know about San Francisco:
- It’s a beautiful city.
- To fully appreciate those gorgeous vistas, you have to hike up many hills, often at 90 degree angles.
- The City is known for its sometimes wacky behavior and politics.
- San Francisco is one of the most progressive cities when it comes to services for older adults and strives to be the most “dementia friendly” City on the planet!
This last item became crystal clear when a group of health care professionals and Alzheimer’s advocates convened last week to participate in an update on San Francisco’s efforts to improve dementia care in our community. Continue reading “San Francisco’s Dementia Care Plan – We’re seeing progress!” »
Today marks our last blog entry celebrating caregivers during National Caregivers Month. Jamie, whose dad died this June from Alzheimer’s calls on other caregivers to take action against Alzheimer’s. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
Jim lost his battle with Alzheimer’s in June
My family lives in the Clovis/Sanger area. My father Jim died from Alzheimer’s on June 29, 2012. He had been diagnosed three and a half years before his death. Alzheimer’s disease is extremely difficult to face. It changes people. It makes daily life hard. My mother Ann was his full-time caregiver. That is an impossible job. There were good times and bad times. Caregiving is one of the hardest jobs in the world.
I was able to survive this ordeal by educating myself. I turned to the Alzheimer’s Association. Knowledge was my strength. Through the information I received from the Alzheimer’s Association, I was able to share and educate my family. Stages of progression, personality changes, care and treatment, programs available. For three and a half years, I used the information from the Alzheimer’s Association on a daily basis. How to cope. How to help. How to deal with denial in friends and family members. Most importantly, during the final weeks of my dad’s life, I was able to comfort him. Why? Because of what I learned from the Alzheimer’s Association. From having my dog sit with my dad, to massaging my dad’s hands, to sharing photos, to listening to music… All of these calming mechanisms made the last few days more comfortable for me and for my dad. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Jamie survived caregiving by educating herself” »
We’ve heard from so many self-sacrificing caregivers during National Caregivers Month – here’s another story from Amanda, who was traveling the world when she got the news of her mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
The Scholz Family
Two years ago my mother Joan, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the young age of 60. There is no way to describe how it feels to watch your parent slowly decline and lose the ability to do the everyday things we take for granted and see the frustration and confusion in her eyes. My mother is such an amazing woman and has always taken care of my family and me. I never thought I would be caring for her in this way at the age of 31.
This disease has taken my life in a completely different direction than I had planned. When I learned of my mom’s diagnosis, I had been traveling around Australia for a year and had planned on continuing my travels to other countries – until I learned of this disease. Once I came back to Santa Cruz and spent more time with my Mom, I realized there was nowhere else in this world that I needed to be besides here, helping to care for her. I recently took six months off of work to be with my mom while my Dad works full time. Because this disease struck so early, he doesn’t have the luxury of being retired and being able to commit more time to caring for my Mom himself so I do what I can to help. I now work part-time in the mornings and then go to my parents every day to care for my mom until my Dad gets home from work. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Amanda moved back home to help care for Mom” »