Alzheimer’s is a progressive and heartbreaking disease. It destroys the patient’s brain cells and vital mental functions, including memory. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows as many as 5.8 million living in the U.S. with the disease. There are 16 million family members and friend caregivers across the country. Each year, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease continue to increase, making National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month an opportune time to bring awareness to it.
The beginning stages often appear as normal forgetfulness of growing older. This stage could begin as much as 15 years before they display symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Your loved one may start forgetting people’s names or where they put things. At this juncture, patients can usually continue living life as usual. Yet, memory lapses and forgetfulness will continue to happen more often.
The disease will progress in stages. At each interval, a person will have decreased ability to live and function alone. Your loved one will struggle with communication and mobility as the disease advances.
By the final stage, your loved one will have severe mental and physical impairments. They will need constant care for even basic tasks, such as sitting and swallowing. They are at significant risk of injury. Their inability to remain mobile also leaves them vulnerable to infections.
The History of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
Jerome H. Stone was a prominent businessman and the founding president of the Alzheimer’s Association. When his wife, Evelyn, was diagnosed, it opened his eyes to the need for an organization dedicated to the disease.
Stone advocated for a group that unites caregivers, provides support, researches better treatments, and works toward a cure. In 1979, Stone met with the National Institute on Aging. The meeting’s purpose was to discuss the benefits of forming a national organization. The organization’s goal was to speed up efforts in the research of Alzheimer’s disease. After a successful meeting, Stone and the National Institute of Health funded the Alzheimer’s Association in 1980.
The Alzheimer’s Association brought on increased awareness. In 1983, Congress designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The purpose of the designation is to make the general public more aware. They work with potential care options for those whom the disease has affected.
Early Preparation After an Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis is Critical
If someone close to you has received an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, you must take steps to prepare. A diagnosis is devastating and life-changing for the entire family. It’s not uncommon for those dealing with this prognosis to have difficulty thinking about the future.
Planning will allow you and your loved one to make decisions with a rational mind. A clear outline will result in fewer complications ahead. Preparing will enable you to plan for long-term health care and settle financial and legal decisions.
Many families will need help after diagnosis, and others need support in later stages. Whatever your case, there are options available. Caregivers must build a powerful support system and have resources after a diagnosis and through the entire process. Support, information, and help are available. A few resources include:
For compassionate guidance and support, the staff at Reflections Management and Care are here to help. Our organization provides various support services for you and your loved one.
We Provide Compassionate and Innovative Services
Reflections Management and Care offers many services to you and the person in your care. We offer Electronic Caregiver, Care Management, Counseling, and Relocation Management. The Electronic Caregiver Premier service includes:
- A pocket smart health device
- One-touch telehealth
- Interactive care plan support
- An emergency wrist pendant
Electronic Caregiver employs GPS and CBS Location Services for user location. It also provides health surveys and emergency response care 24 hours, seven days a week. This innovative service allows the elderly to live longer, with more independence in the home, while remaining safe.
We will determine Care Management services based on the needs of your loved one. It is our mission to improve health while allowing them to remain self-sufficient. Our experienced counselors will provide treatment to assist with mental health and the quality of your loved one’s life. If they live in a facility, the counselor will work with staff to ensure they receive the highest standard of care they need and deserve.
We offer Relocation Management services that assist you and your loved one when it becomes necessary. Our expert geriatric care manager will access and coordinate with you to ensure the move is painless.
We support the senior community in aging well and provide caregivers with the support they need. Contact us today for more information. We understand how overwhelming this diagnosis and disease can be, and we are here to help.