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Remembering What You Knew

by Drake Keckley

Growing up with having all your grandparents is special. Having nothing wrong, while being able to see them whenever you wanted was a bonus. When you’re younger, you don’t see the struggles they face as they get older. On the other hand, as you get older, everything unravels, and you see the difficulties that everyone faces each day. Not only do we see the things that our grandparents struggle with as they get older, but they struggle and have a hard time doing things as well as they used to a few years ago.

A few years ago, my grandmother was different, but we didn’t think of anything as she was just aging. She would forget things and ask the same question repeatedly. She was showing signs of Alzheimer’s. Just like her mom, she had Alzheimer’s as well, but at a later age. My grandma was only 65 when she started showing signs. Unlike her mom when she was about 80 years old.

My goal in life was to go to college and get a degree in something so I could get a job that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Knowing that she had gotten Alzheimer’s at such a young age, I feel like I might be next. Knowing that Alzheimer’s is in my family genetically, I am afraid that someone in my family will be next before me to become diagnosed.

Alzheimer’s is a big thing that so many families struggle with, but it’s not widely talked about regarding putting an end to this disease. In the U.S. each year, 500,000 people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (1). Symptoms are common, but not everyone notices them right away. It may take some time to realize because either they don’t see it happening, or they don’t want to admit to it. Some Symptoms include memory loss, changes in behavior or personality, and decision making (2).  Memory loss is the biggest of all. Many individuals that get Alzheimer’s struggle with this symptom the most. Some may repeat statements and questions over and over or forget the names of close people (2). I have always heard that when someone gets Alzheimer’s, it always makes them the opposite of who they were. Some changes in behavior are depression, changes in sleeping habits, and eating disorders (2). People that suffer from Alzheimer’s, often have altered decision-making. It may be more difficult to respond effectively to everyday problems, such as food burning on the stove or unexpected driving situations (2). Even though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are many resources that can be obtained. Medical Management can improve the quality of life or for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and for their caregivers (1,3). As behavioral changes set in, there is not much anyone can do, but there are a few treatment options available. A way to help treat behavioral changes is to create a calm Environment (1). Being patient and not alarming allows them to stay calm and not freak out (1). Another way to help Alzheimer’s is to acknowledge requests (1). People with Alzheimer’s may get angry and aggressive, and some may take it personally. It’s good that you respond to them, but in a way so that you don’t upset them in any way.

The Alzheimer’s Association is an organization that fights to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia as well as educate and give support to others that been fighting and struggling with Alzheimer’s since 1980.  The Alzheimer’s Association is a non-profit organization that is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Not only promoting Alzheimer’s awareness, but they also have support groups and walks that raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, and FDA-approved therapy that addresses the underlying biology of Alzheimer’s disease (1). 

Remember, if you haven’t contacted someone about possibly showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, then you should. Getting help is the best thing that you or anyone could do. There is support no matter where you go. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that no family should have to go through. Also maybe donating a few dollars to the Alzheimer’s Association would be welcoming as well. All the money goes towards research for Alzheimer’s. By being more alert, we can hopefully help stop and cure Alzheimer’s disease.

References:

  1. Quick Facts and Treatments: Alzheimer’s Association

https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/treatments/aducanumab

  1. Symptoms: Mayo Clinic

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20350447

  1. Treatments: CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm#treated

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