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Facts About Alzheimer’s

 REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA
REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA

THE research with Alzheimer’s, just in America is staggering. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that this one disease kills more Americans than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. It is also the only disease in the top 10 that cannot be slowed, stopped or prevented. From 2000 to 2013 deaths from other diseases have decreased significantly while Alzheimer’s increased 71%. Every 37 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. Every 4 seconds someone developed dementia worldwide according to Alzheimer’s Disease International. Millions of people will develop Alzheimer’s but only half of them will actually be diagnosed. Patients are not diagnosed and there are many different reasons for this. This lack of diagnos’s has caused a delusion of reality of this disease. It is a world epidemic.

Alzheimer’s affects 68% women and 38% men and almost two thirds of the caregivers are women.

Alz.org reports that although there are more whites and non-Hispanics with Alzheimer’s in America, there are more older African-Americans and Hispanics with Alzheimer’s. The Caribbean and Venezuelan have a lower statics, but Alzheimer’s Disease International Caribbean region are suggesting that the Caribbean culture is more in line for risk with the American statistics. We are not properly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, nor do we report or take data regarding Alzheimer’s and therefore our statistics are low of risk. Most of us know that the disease is growing rapidly here in the Caribbean region. What do we do about this? We make our voices heard by joining associations and organizations to bring about the awareness so that we can receive support like the rest of the world.

These two associations below are working on bringing more support to St. Lucia

http://www.alz.co.uk/; http://www.internationalcaregiversassociation.com/; The American www.alz.org is a great website for information as well, but no plans for a chapter here at this time.

Q: I have been having trouble to get my sister to eat. She is losing weight from not eating. How can I change that?

A: This is common and alarming to most families and with good reasons. With Alzheimer’s, you will find as it progresses many health systems will shut down and the desire to eat is one of them. The symptom of not eating is more complicated than just not eating. And through many families that have told their stories we have found that there are several things you can do to encourage a person with dementia to eat. Because your sister has lost weight, it would be good to start giving her nutritional health shakes like Boost or Ensure if she is drinking. Check to make sure she has no problems with swallowing. Other things you can do is to sit and eat with her. Modeling is effective because she is not alone. Music that is soft is known to stimulate the appetite. Use red place mats or plates, these are inviting. Also check to see if she needs help to get started. Pick up her fork or spoon and hand it to her. Maybe she needs a stronger clue. Put food on it then hand it to her. She may need assistance with just the initiative or maybe she needs to be fed. Keep trying, but don’t force. Be creative with her. How long has this change been happening? Is she getting sick? Check to see what kinds of food she is eating? Does it matter? Is she eating softer foods? There are many faucets to consider and I hope some of these will help you help her to get better nutrition.

Q: I have been taking care of my mom for 5 years now. I think everything is ok but my siblings tell me I am stressed. How can I tell?

A: It is possible that you may be stressed and you are not aware of it. Do you regularly… 1. Feel like you have to do it all yourself and that you should be doing more? 2. Withdrawn from family, friends and activities that you use to enjoy? 3. Worry that the person you care for is safe? 4. Feel anxious about money and healthcare decisions? 5. Deny the impact of the disease and its effects on your family? 6. Feel grief or sadness that your relationship with the person isn’t what it use to be? 7. Get frustrated and angry with the person with dementia continually repeat things and doesn’t seem to listen? 8. Have health problems that are taking a toll on you mentally and physically? You can go to www.alz.org and answer these questions above or you can email me your answers and I will give you more tips.

Sometimes family and friends can see changes in ourselves that we cannot see. They love and care about you, do not ignore their concern.

Send questions to angelsofthewest@outlook.com or 758-486-4509

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