Thursday, August 7, 2008

Alzheimer's Disease

I've been to one of the Nursing Home here in Fresno, who are taking care of elderly who have Alzheimers Disease. I just remember during my college years we studied Psychiatric Nursing, and all of the diseases has been tackled and that includes Alzheimers disease. At first I really don't have the idea what really it is, how worst it is until I've seen people in the state of this certain problem. They couldn't talk, think right, and even do right. I've seen one patient walking back and forth and who had motor problems, shaking his hands. That's just one example.

But what really an Alzheimers Disease?

According to the Alzheimers Association, it is a progressive and fatal brain disease. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Is the most common form of dementia, a general term for the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Vascular dementia, another common type of dementia, is caused by reduced blood flow to parts of the brain. In mixed dementia, Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia occur together. Has no current cure. But treatment for symptoms, combined with the right services and support.

10 warning signs of Alzheimer's:
  1. Memory loss. Forgetting recently learned information is one of the most common early signs of dementia. A person begins to forget more often and is unable to recall the information later.
  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. People with dementia often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a telephone call or playing a game.
  3. Problems with language. People with Alzheimer’s disease often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to understand. They may be unable to find the toothbrush, for example, and instead ask for "that thing for my mouth.”
  4. Disorientation to time and place. People with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost in their own neighborhood, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.
  5. Poor or decreased judgment. Those with Alzheimer’s may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing in the cold. They may show poor judgment, like giving away large sums of money to telemarketers.
  6. Problems with abstract thinking. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are for and how they should be used.
  7. Misplacing things. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
  8. Changes in mood or behavior. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show rapid mood swings – from calm to tears to anger – for no apparent reason.
  9. Changes in personality. The personalities of people with dementia can change dramatically. They may become extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent on a family member.
  10. Loss of initiative. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleeping more than usual or not wanting to do usual activities.

Unfortunately, this disease has no cure. But here are some basic care to modify the symptoms and control the aggravation. Orientation of the patient about time and place, ongoing treatment focuses on making the most of the person's abilities as they change and dealing with new problems as they arise. Caregiving tasks range from maintaining a safe environment and helping the person get dressed every day to finding ways to manage or minimize disruptive behaviors such as wandering and sleep problems. No single strategy works for everyone. Successful care also depends on making sure the caregiver is involved in making decisions about treatment.