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Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month: Facts versus Fiction

By Jessica Deng

Alzheimer’s and Brain awareness month is celebrated in the month of June with the goal of creating awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia as well as showing support for the millions of people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the fifth leading cause of death for adults 65 and older and the seventh leading cause of for all adults.

One of the first steps toward raising awareness is educating people with the facts to help their families and themselves. During this month, we would like to take the opportunity to share with you common facts and myths about Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Facts:

  • Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.
    • Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible degeneration of the brain that causes disruptions in memory, cognition, behavior, and other functions that eventually lead to death from brain failure.
  • Memory loss can be a natural part of aging. It doesn’t guarantee you have dementia.
    • People naturally forget things from time to time. Many forms of dementia do not have memory loss as their first symptom. If you’re experiencing any unexplained mood, behavior, or ability changes, it’s best to contact your primary care physician.
  • Puzzles help, but challenging yourself helps more.
    • Few are familiar with the notion that challenging yourself mentally or physically is what makes the difference for the brain’s plasticity. Learning a new language, a new dance move, or working hard at things outside of your comfort zone allows new wires to form in the brain.
    • The mindfulness, concentration, and sense of purpose achieved during these activities truly strengthen the learning and memory functions of the brain.
  • The progression of Alzheimer’s is divided into three general stages.
    • There are three main stages of Alzheimer’s: early, middle, and late. Each stage has a distinct set of commonly seen symptoms, degree of the damage to the brain, and the treatment options associated with it.
  • There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but treatment can slow the disease’s progression.
    • Researchers are still searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s. However, there are several pharmaceutical treatments available that may alleviate some symptoms, allowing patients in the mild and moderate stages of the disease to retain a better quality of life.

Alzheimer’s Fiction:

  • Alzheimer’s is caused by genetics.
    • While the exact cause of Alzheimer’s remains unknown, only a very small percentage of people develop it because of genetics. While we don’t know how yet to prevent it, there are certain steps you can take to manage the risks of developing dementia.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the same thing.
    • People generally use Alzheimer’s disease and dementia interchangeably, but there is a difference. Dementia refers to impaired memory, thinking, reasoning, and behavior, and Alzheimer’s is just one type of dementia. There are other types of dementia too, including Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular dementia.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that only affects older people.
    • Age is the most significant known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, but most people do not develop the disease as they age. It’s important to understand that Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.
  • Since there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, early diagnosis doesn’t matter.
    • Early diagnosis allows a person with Alzheimer’s to get the maximum benefit from available treatments that may slow the disease and to make decisions about participating in clinical trials. A loved one also has a greater opportunity to plan and give input about future care.
  • People with Alzheimer’s don’t know what’s going on around them.
    • Even in advanced stages, patients can feel emotions even though they are unable to express themselves. The disease does affect a person’s ability to communicate and make sense of the world around them, although it affects each person differently. It’s important to treat the person with dignity and respect.

How can LifeWorx help you?

LifeWorx has nearly 20 years of experience in Alzheimer’s and dementia elderly care. A skilled and professional LifeWorx dementia home care professional can make sure your loved one.  Contact one of our home care professionals today and see how we can help improve your or your loved one’s quality of life.

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