Remember Me? Have you or anyone you know ever experienced the following or similar occurrences?
- Forget what month it is, and/or what season?
- Couldn’t recognize a voice or tune that everyone else is telling you that you have always known?
- Are you aware of the fact that you’re forgetting things you usually remember very well- like phone numbers?
Dementias a condition where a person suffers from memory loss that progressively worsens over time, involving both long and short term memory losses and Alzheimer’s diseases is the most common cause of Dementia.
Why Does It Happen?
Alzheimer’s Disease is known to involve a genetic factor- which could either be inherited (familial) or can occur by gene mutations. The disease causes atrophy (degeneration) of the brain tissue-mainly the cerebral cortex region and the hippocampus.
The mutated genes decrease the ability of the brain cells (neurons) to degrade waste proteins and this impairs the transmission of information to and fro from the brain which leads to significant long and short term memory loss over a period of time.
Who Does It Affect? Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t common at the age of 45 years but it’s not unheard of.
What To Look Out For
What Just Happened? The first sign is more or less always the loss of ability to retain new things and pieces of information which indicates a defect in the ability to produce new memories.
Progression of the disease
The progress of Alzheimer’s is very gradual and spaced, but the signs are clear.
In mild cases, the patient may forget where he or she is at the moment, what day it is or what they ate for breakfast.
Long and Short Term Losses
The lapses in memory are usually short-term and the person is initially aware that they’re slowly losing their memory. But with the progress of the disease, the patient starts denying that there’s anything wrong.
Depending on the type of Alzheimer’s Disease, the period of progression varies. Some people experience severe symptoms initially while others may have their memory preserved during the early stages of the disease.
The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is mainly done clinically and laboratory findings don’t have any significant role.
Symptoms and signs make it evident to the practitioner about the type and severity of the condition and they can choose the types of management that will be most comfortable for the patients accordingly.
A lot of people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease also suffer from mild to severe depression. Depression causes a feeling of alienation, an awareness that something is wrong but they can’t seem to understand what, which causes frustration. The patients slowly pull away from social activities and engage themselves in solitude.
Some patients may show signs of aggression in the late stages and they can even forget their own family members, they can forget to speak, they can also forget who they are. These are obvious signs that the disease is severe.
How Can You help them?
Patience is the key to managing a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. You must try your best to understand a number of psychological difficulties that the patient is suffering from not being able to remember how to carry about with their day to day activities like they usually would.
Develop memory tools and engage them in activities that will help them to remember things better- such as flashcards. Be supportive and calm when they behave aggressively.
If you notice signs of depression, consult a psychiatrist and start them on anti-depressants since depression is something that can be controlled.
Help them with their daily routine whenever they find it difficult to do so by themselves but not in an impatient manner.
Be courageous and aware of what’s happening and don’t break down in front of them and make them feel worse- this is important because as their family or friend, you’re their main source of reassurance and comfort.
Be aware and be prepared.