Monday, July 16, 2012

The Second Most Feared Disease

When I started the blog, I started it as place where all of us caregivers could have a place to come and vent. I also wanted to provide information about the aging process and the different issues the elderly deal with. The next two days on the blog I am going back to the second goal. Providing information. Then Wednesday we will go back to the fun things.

The most feared disease is cancer. The second most feared disease is Alzheimer's. That is among all age groups. However, for those over fifty the most feared disease is Alzheimer's.

It is very hard to admit that you have or had a relative with Dementia or Alzheimer's. My dad had Dementia. To say it was difficult would be an understatement. Dad always remembered who I was and always remembered his family he just couldn't live in the here and now. He was back in the time when his family owned a dairy. He was back in the time when he owned a roofing company. He had a stroke and couldn't walk. He would forget he couldn't walk and fall. Sometimes when we had company he would rally and the company would get the impression there was nothing wrong with him. I can hear them talking, "there is nothing wrong with him." Then as soon as the company left he would go back to calculating the costs of roofs and start falling again. I think in the three years he had dementia we ended up in the emergency room over forty times. My heart just goes out to anyone that has a family member dealing with memory issues.

Let's start by answering the question, what is the difference between Alzheimer's and Dementia:

I was stuck my the fact that they can't accurately diagnose Alzheimer's until after death. According to the article the doctors use the term "probable Alzheimer's" for those that they think have AD.

What is it like when you have a relative with dementia or Alzheimer's? You just can't describe it because it is different for everyone. No two cases are the same. However, the following article gives an idea of the struggles and yes some of the joys:

I am closing today's post with a good article from the USA Today about how important early diagnosis is.

Pay attention to the ten warning signs in the box to the left. If you see those signs in yourself or anyone get ye or their arses to the doctor. We saw signs in dad for years before a stroke brought on his dementia full bore. We should have had him tested earlier but we didn't because we didn't want to embarrass him. Learn from our mistakes.

Tomorrow we will share with you new advancements in fighting Alzheimer's and Dementia. We will also give some care giving tips and options.

Comment Away.


Pat said...

Good article about the differences between dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. My mother had dementia, but I never thought it was AD, because of the sudden onset. In the end, though, it really makes no difference unless the dementia is of some treatable kind, and I don't think many are.

Good tips for caregivers, too. Early diagnosis is important, I guess, but there's not much to be done as yet. I hope they come up with something that will arrest AD. I know there's a lot of research going on.

William J. said...

Hi Pat

One of the things it said in the article is that dementia has replaced the word senile and when I think about it you don't hear that word anymore.

I am going to report in on some of the research they are doing tomorrow. The good results of a study and the hope of the results of studies that will be out in two weeks.


Lady DR said...

Great articles, Bill. I particularly appreciated the one on the difference between dementia and AD, showing that one may be a symptom of the other. I remember my grandmother being diagnosed with "hardening of the arteries," before dementia or AD were even being considered. Great tips for caregivers of almost any patient condition.

Totally off the subject, I found a startling statistic today. (Well, not totally off the subject, since some of those involved are caring for elderly grandparents.) A report released in 2005 by the Nat'l Alliance for Caregiving said there were at least 1.3 million caregiving youths, between the ages of 8 and 18, nationwide. Some are helping care for grandparents, some are sole caregivers to a parent with a chronic or terminal disease. They're a hidden population, because they're afraid if they admit to the situation, they'll be deemed incapable or too pressured and the family will be split up. We, as adults, have our challenges with caregiving. I can't imagine what it must be like to deal with it as a child.

Looking forward to hearing about the advancements and am always looking for tips and options on care giving.

William J. said...


I don't think the comment is off subject at all, in fact I think itn is right on target. I am shocked at the number of caregivers between that 8 and 18 I am not shocked that the caregivers don't admit to it because of worries that the family will split up. Sad really.

Another segment of the population that needs help!