55% of Alzheimer’s Patients Never Told of their Diagnosis
Think about going to the doctor with numerous symptoms of forgetfulness, mood swings, confusion, and depression, but leaving without a clear explanation or diagnosis of what is going on.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 55% of patients with Alzheimer’s & Dementia are never told of their diagnosis – neither are their families or caregivers.
This is staggering, considering that 9 out of 10 patients with cancer were told the diagnosis from their doctor.
For doctors it is difficult – difficult to relay bad news, difficult to pass along the potential pain that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can cause, and it often times stems from a well-meaning desire to protect the patient and their family.
But withholding information from patients and families takes away the opportunity to prepare for the road before them. It can cause angst and worry for what the symptoms mean, and can often leave them feeling powerless in a growing haze around the life of their loved one. Treatment options are never explored, and the aggregate effects on the search for solutions to this devastating disease are hindered in compounded fashion as over half of the data does not exist.
As a society with increasing numbers of seniors, we must strive to continue the heightening of awareness for all those involved – the medical community, senior care workers, families, and individuals.
Just as the stigma for the “C” word was overcome, and we have since made great advances in cancer diagnostics & treatment, as well as mental, social, & emotional preparations for patients and families, we must overcome the stigma and well-intentioned ignorance for Alzheimer’s and dementia for continued furtherance of medical advancement, increased social support, and ultimately to better serve the ones we love.
Alzheimer’s affects over 5 million Americans. Knowing the early signs of Alzheimer’s can help diagnosis and quality of life.
Here are 10 early warning signs from the Alzheimer’s Association. Someone may experience some of these in varying degrees, and if you notice any of them in a loved one, encouraged them to see a doctor.
1) Memory loss that disrupts daily life
2) Challenges in planning or solving problems
3) Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
4) Confusion with time or place
5) Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6) New problems with words in speaking or writing
7) Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8) Decreased or poor judgment
9) Withdrawal from work or social activities
10) Changes in mood and personality
For more helpful information and links for Alzheimer’s & Dementia, you can visit our Caregivers Resources Page
The full article fro the Alzheimer’s Association can be found here
Emotional and Financial Stress of Unpaid Caregiving
While caregiving for a loved one can be one of the most rewarding things in life, it is not without costs to the caregiver.
As this infographic from caring.com shows, being a caregiver is stressful, has a tremendously negative financial impact – both in money actually spent as well as work time lost, and can cause strain on other family relationships.
When weighing whether to hire a part-time caregiver to help shoulder the load, consider some of these statistics:
When the winter weather finally breaks and those first signs of spring begin to show, everybody wants to be outside. especially seniors that are indoors more in the winter!
Here are some great suggestions from Inside Elder Care for getting out and getting moving in the spring:
- Take a walk: Studies have shown that even ten minutes of walking a day can help senior citizens maintain their strength and agility. Walking, along with various other types of physical activity, gets the blood pumping through the body and helps oxygen flow to the brain.
- Go to a sporting event: A sporting event can energize and gives opportunity to socialize.
- Have a picnic: Enjoying a meal outdoors is a nice change of scene when the weather’s appropriate. If hosting a picnic seems like too much, plan a day out with your closest friends to a restaurant with outdoor seating. You’ll still be enjoying the outdoors but without all the work!
- Start a garden: Plant some colorful flowers and watch them bloom, or try your hand at growing some vegetables. Once they’ve matured, you can use them in your cooking and share them with friends and loved ones.
- Do some exercise: Many people think that senior citizens should avoid physical activity to help prevent injury, but it’s especially important to stay physically active in your later years so that your body will remain functioning. As the old adage goes, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!
- Play a game: Engaging your brain will help keep you sharp. If board games aren’t in your wheelhouse, try participating in some friendly shuffleboard or tennis. Playing a sport can even double as your physical activity for the day.
- Take a field trip: Visit a local park, a museum, or attend an outdoor concert – check with your local visiting center or the activities board at your senior care facility to see what’s currently happening in your town.
Being outside is a natural stress reliever and always brings an increased sense of vitality and energy for seniors. With the season’s shifting, longer periods of daylight, and warmer weather ahead, seniors and their families can enjoy the great outdoors these fun spring activities!
From Inside Elder Care – Full Article Here
Picture from Inside Elder Care