When dementia hits home it can be too late when you discover what it is and its impact on your loved one. It can be devastating and hurting when you loved one can’t remember you or recall the great times you had together. Alzheimer/Dementia is becoming more common in the African American community. When I was personally faced with the way dementia effects my loved one I became compelled to do some research and share.
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
Until recently, most of our understanding of the pathology of dementia was largely based on studies of white patients. African-Americans suffer from these cognitive impairments at two to three times the rate of non-Hispanic whites, yet they are less likely to take part in research. That has created a serious challenge for scientists, who are trying to persuade more blacks to participate in studies — both while they are alive and after they die.
History of medical abuse of African-Americans has made them very reluctant to participate in studies. African-Americans don’t want their brain separated from their body when they are buried, said Stephanie Monroe, director of African Americans Against Alzheimer’s, which is engaged in various efforts to educate people about the disease and its effects.
It is beneficial to become familiar with the following basic symptoms in the event that your elderly loved one starts exhibiting them:
1)MEMORY LOSS THAT DISRUPTS DAILY LIFE
Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. They may forget important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over.
2)CONFUSION WITH TIME OR PLACE
Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately.
3)DIFFICULTY COMPLETING FAMILIAR TASKS AT HOME, AT WORK OR AT LEISURE
People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
4)MISPLACING THINGS AND LOSING THE ABILITY TO RETRACE STEPS
Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again.
5)CHALLENGES IN PLANNING OR SOLVING PROBLEMS Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers, keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
6)CHANGES IN MOOD AND PERSONALITY
The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
7)TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING VISUAL IMAGES AND SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.
8)NEW PROBLEMS WITH WORDS IN SPEAKING OR WRITING
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).
9)DECREASED OR POOR JUDGMENT People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming
10)WITHDRAWAL FROM WORK OR SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team, social activities or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby.
While current medications cannot stop the damage Alzheimer’s causes. As Alzheimer’s progresses, brain cells die and connections among cells are lost, causing cognitive symptoms to worsen. They may help lessen or stabilize symptoms for a limited time by affecting certain chemicals involved in carrying messages among the brain’s nerve cells.
If you see these symptoms contact a doctor. Discuss the symptoms and solutions. Don’t miss the signs like we did.
Ref: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/08/health/african-american-dementia-brain-donation-partner/index.html https://www.alz.org https://www.dementiasociety.org https://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_standard_prescriptions.asp