Pacifica Senior Blog

Alzheimer's Awareness Month: facts & tips for dealing with dementia

Jun 1, 2022 3:00:00 PM / by Pacifica Senior Living

There are over 50 million people around the world who are living with Alzheimer’s or some other form of memory impairment. June marks the start of Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, a time in which we raise more awareness, answer questions, and raise support for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory loss. 

Alzheimer’s Awareness over the Years

Memory decline, and conditions like dementia have existed throughout recorded history, long before the condition was ever given its name. The perception of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive degeneration has changed greatly over the years. In ancient Roman times, it was viewed negatively, as a punishment inflicted on individuals by God. Similarly, those with conditions like dementia often experienced hate and prosecution.

The term dementia was first recorded in 600 A.D., in Latin with ‘de’ meaning loss and ‘mentia’ meaning mind - together meaning the loss of the mind, or loss of state of mind. Thankfully, As human understanding and scientific investigations advanced, our knowledge and perception of Dementia has changed with time. National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month was started in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, and was intended to educate and raise awareness about this difficult and often misunderstood condition.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that tends to come on later in life. It is most common in people over the age of 60, and is a condition that affects brain health, and results in cognitive decline and memory loss. There are various stages of Alzheimer’s, and the disease progresses differently for everyone, however the most common symptoms involve significant memory loss, difficulty with daily tasks, or confusion severe enough to affect quality of life.

Learn more about what dementia is, and what it may mean for you on our YouTube channel here

What are the warning signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s?

One of the more difficult aspects of this type of dementia and Alzheimer’s is that it comes on gradually, and in early stages of the disease presents a lot like normal forgetfulness, and it is easy to think absentminded behaviors are a normal part of aging.

First stage indicators can include

  • Memory loss
  • Misplacing items
  • Word loss such as forgetting the names of things or places
  • Repetition - such as asking the same question over and over, or re-telling the same incidents
  • A resistance to change or trying new things (familiarity becomes increasingly important as memory loss and confusion increase)

In the middle stages, symptoms can include:

  • An increase in confusion or feelings of disorientation
  • Ongoing repetitive, obsessive or impulsive behaviors
  • Disassociation from the truth, Delusions, or believing things that are not true
  • Aphasia (i.e. difficulties with speech or language)
  • Problems with sleep
  • Mood swings, depression, increased anxiety or episodes of anxiety or frustration
  • Difficulty with spatial awareness

As the progression continues into the later stages of dementia, symptoms can include:

  • Mobility difficulty without assistance
  • Lack of appetite, often paired with weight loss
  • Loss of speech
  • Major difficulties with both short and long-term memory

Click here to watch our recent webinar on dealing with dementia behaviors, or register for our next web event.

Tips if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s

If you have a family member, friend, or loved one with Alzheimer’s, it can feel overwhelming - but you are not alone! Healthcare providers, support groups, and Senior Living communities are great resources to lean on. People with Alzheimer’s often require additional assistance, and this is where specially designed Memory Care communities - staffed with skilled caregivers and nurses - can offer reassurance and aid to memory care residents and alleviate some of the stresses and responsibilities.

Though Alzheimer’s research has advanced greatly over the years, and major progress has been made by the Alzheimer’s foundation of America, there is still no cure. Finding a community or support system that can help your loved one feel at ease and comfortable - providing reassurance and comfort in what can be a very difficult time.

Memory Care for Alzheimer’s 

Alzheimer's and dementia can be scary words, but they don’t have to be. Through support, education, therapies and specialized programs we are making a more comfortable, secure, and joyful life for memory care residents and their loved ones.

There are many simple ways caregivers and nursing staff can adjust to meet the different needs of memory care residents. From aromatherapy to soothing music, art to craft projects, pet therapy and brain boosting techniques, we can all work together to understand and support those with Alzheimer's.

Learn more about Memory Care programs at Pacifica Senior Living here.

This Awareness Month is a great way to educate, support, raise awareness and ultimately join the fight to end Alzheimer’s. You can support the cause by fundraising for Alzheimer research, schedule memory screenings to detect an early diagnosis, wear purple to promote the endalz campaign, or donate to the Alzheimer's association. Every dollar you help raise makes a difference in the lives of those facing this devastating disease, and helps bring us closer to the vision of the Alzheimer's Association®: a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®.

You can learn more about how you can support the fight against Alzheimer’s here.

Walk with us, donate, or send your support. 

 

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