Many of us have heard the term “Journey” when the topic of dementia is brought up in conversation. It’s an apt description for a disease that has only one destination and features many twists and turns along the way.
If you’re even remotely interested in current events, you have likely come across stories or articles about Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. The media attention dementia has received over the last number of years is reflective of the profound societal effect the disease imparts on us all. Overall this attention is a good thing; there needs to be more awareness about this most complex of cognitive disorders.
My mother had Alzheimer’s disease. My family and I think she first showed symptoms when she was 68 years old. A more accurate statement would be the indications became just too obvious to ignore. Research shows that Alzheimer’s begins its inexorable progress years, even decades before the symptoms come to the fore. Like many others with the disease, I’m sure Mom experienced some cognitive difficulties she kept to herself or allowed herself to accept.
On the surface, there may not be much that connects Alzheimer’s and other dementias with youth. Alzheimer’s disease is commonly associated with an older population – only rarely affecting the younger generation. Dig a little deeper into your community though and you will find that there is in fact, a lot more connecting Alzheimer’s and dementia with a younger population than meets the eye.
A common question we hear at the Alzheimer Society is one that involves the confusion over Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Aren’t they the same? Is one worse than the other? What is the difference?
While the holidays can be a time of celebration, the holiday season can also be overwhelmingly stressful if you are a person with dementia or a caregiver. The festivities of the season many times involve visiting unfamiliar places, large groups of people, noise and a hectic pace all of which can increase anxiety for those with the disease. Whether the person you’re caring for lives at home or in long-term care, sticking to a regular routine will minimize stress. Keeping things simple and cherishing the time with family will make the holiday period enjoyable and meaningful for everyone involved.