The Alzheimer’s Association reports that more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Though many people have loved ones who are living with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, or have watched as loved ones died from the disease, only those who have firsthand experience of the condition really know what it is like to live with it on a daily basis.
Although cancer, heart attacks, and strokes are more common and kill far more people, dementia remains America’s most feared illness. Our memories make us who we are, and losing them is terrifying. But dementia is a slow, progressive illness. Many people live for many years before it affects their ability to function. But even when it does, you are still you. You’ll have good days and bad days, just like always. Building a support network now can help prepare you for what’s ahead. Here’s how to do it.
This blog was published on November 23, 2015 and updated on January 15, 2020.
Dementia can be a terrifying diagnosis, especially when you do not know what to expect. Dementia, however, does not have to be a dark and mysterious force haunting every second of your loved one’s life. There’s still plenty of joy to be found after a dementia diagnosis. Having the right medical information can help you or your loved one plan for the future, choose palliative care options, and pursue the right treatment.
If you know or love someone living with dementia, you are not alone. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 50 million people live with this cognitive disease worldwide, with more than 10 million new cases diagnosed each year. Dementia is a world health crisis, but it can feel even more catastrophic when the disease directly impacts your family.
Traveling can be the perfect way to get out of the house, create memories, and try something new. However, travel can feel exceptionally difficult if your plans include bringing your loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia. Whether you’re vacationing together, visiting a special place for the holidays, or just taking a daytrip for no reason at all, you can make traveling with an elderly dementia person easier with a few of our tips.
Dementia is frustrating for seniors and caregivers alike. It makes daily activities more challenging and can slowly erode communication skills, relationships and even personalities. Dementia doesn’t mean that a person loses interest in connecting with others, doing simple hobbies or mastering new skills. It just makes these tasks a little more difficult. The good news is that staying mentally active may actually slow the progression of dementia. Activities such as listening to music can also improve quality of life and reduce emotional challenges such as anxiety and depression.
Many associate forgetfulness with old age, but one disease diagnosed primarily in elderly patients severely affects the memory of over five million Americans. Sometimes known as “old timer’s disease,” Alzheimer’s most often affects patients over the age of 65. A form of dementia, the disease causes changes in the brain which initially cause mild memory issues. In later stages, patients may not be able to talk with others or seem aware of things happening around them. This deadly disease has no cure, but research regarding new treatments, early detection and music therapy offer hope.