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New Year, New Memory Changes

 REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA
By REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA – (if only I can remember )

Q: My mom has started falling. She has a fall at least once or twice a month. So far she has not been hurt. Is this normal for someone with Alzheimer’s? Is there something I can do to help her? She will often drag her feet.

A: Falls may be a symptom of dementia. However, understanding what causes the falls will help reduce the falls. It sounds like she is shuffling with her walk. There are a few things that cause shuffling like: medication side effects; weak muscles in the legs or hip; pain from arthritis in joints or sores on feet; decrease ability to balance self; fear of falling; poor fitting shoes or slippery floors and many times it is poor vision. Some of these are easy to fix and will either correct the shuffling or reduce it. It is easier to come up with a plan to reduce the falls once you know what is causing the shuffling or the falls. Get a good check-up for your mom. If all is clear, then we know it is part of the dementia and you take a look at her home environment and areas where she falls and look for clues that trigger this. If you want professional advice have a Home Nurse visit to assess and make recommendations such as Physical and Occupational Therapy (PT/OT). I have worked with them for years with helping people with dementia. It is a common myth that people with dementia do not benefit with PT/OT. There is actually special training in this area. There are many changes in your mom’s brain and with the right guidance she can be mobile safely.

Q: Hello MsPosvar, my brother has Alzheimer’s. I know his mind is not properly working but he doesn’t tell the truth. I know people say to go along with his lies and some people say that will make the Alzheimer’s worse. What is the best way? He lies on purpose and I don’t want him to get away with that. It is not right.

A: First take a deep cleansing breath before you do anything. Do this three times~ Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose till you feel it in your stomach. Then slowly release the air through pursed lips. After this, you will want to focus on kindness. The best solution is to put your attention to be kind rather than being right. Agreeing with your brother will not harm him. It will help keep him calm.

Ask yourself if the “lie” is an ego problem for you or a moral problem for you? Many families struggle in this area for different reasons. The most important information you should know is that your brother is not lying to you. In his world it is the truth. It is what his brain is telling him. It is his reality. It just doesn’t match yours.

If this is a moral issue with you, be creative by listening to him and agreeing with the emotion he is experiencing without lying to him. It can be done. Correcting him is not the answer as I am sure you already know.

Q:This is a repeated question and the answer is worth repeating. “Will I get Alzheimer’s if two of my family members have died from it?”

A: There is no evidence that guarantees that you will get it because it is in your family, even if you have a specific gene type. What it means is that you are with a higher risk of developing it.

I would recommend that you learn the warning signs. Be aware and implement brain health. And do all you can to reduce stress in your life. Find a hobby you like to do or learn that requires you to use your hands, exercise and spend time with your loved ones now, enjoy and appreciate who they are. If you should be stricken with this disease, your family will have ways to communicate with you using things you enjoy, and your ability to remain mobile as long as possible while prolonging and enhancing your quality of life.

If you start to show symptoms be proactive and do not ignore them. Most people believe their memory problems are related to stress. More than likely it is the case. However, if you do not eliminate or significantly reduce the stress you put yourself at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Quote~ Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

— Carl Bard

Look for Next Support Meeting Dates and Facebook group where families and friends can voice their frustrations, tell their story, offer their experiences to help others and find friends who are going through similar situations like you are having.

For more information regarding memory and cognitive changes, contact me at angelsofthewest@outlook.com  or 486-4509

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