Views: 0 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-06-16 Origin: Site
The Alzheimer’s Association will be observing Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month this month to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias. To mark this event, the Alzheimer’s Association recently published an article describing some of the common misperceptions about the condition as described by individuals with early-stage AD. DementiaTrusted Source describes a group of symptoms characterized by memory loss, language problems, changes in mood, and deficits in thinking and reasoning that interfere with daily life activities. AD is the most common form of dementia, affecting over 6 million individuals in the United States. AD is a progressive disease involving a steady worsening of dementia symptoms over time. Individuals with AD are often able to function independently in the early stages of the disease but have to increasingly rely on their caregivers for daily activities as the disease progresses. Recognizing autonomy Due to better surveillance, individuals are increasingly diagnosed at earlier stages of AD. It is important to recognize that such individuals with early-stage AD are still capable of living independently and continue to have goals that they might want to accomplish. An AD diagnosis does not define a person. Individuals with AD maintain a sense of self until the final stages of dementia and family members should be careful not to view them simply through the prism of their illness. AD does not alter the individual’s preference for activities or relationships. Individuals with AD continue to relish meaningful daily life activities, including meeting friends and family members, until the later stages of the illness. Dr. Peter Rabins, professor emeritus at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, told Medical News Today: “In the early phases of Alzheimer’s disease, many people can maintain their usual level of social and personal interactions. As the disease progresses this may become harder if friends and long-term acquaintances distanced themselves from the person.” “At every stage of the disease, it is more important that a person interacts with others and less important exactly what is said.” Symptom fluctuation The symptoms presented by individuals with AD can fluctuate from one day to another. On certain days, individuals with AD may exhibit improved cognitive function and better mood. In contrast, the same individual may exhibit more severe symptoms, involving anxiety, agitation, irritability, and increased repetition of words on bad days. Thus, family members should understand that certain behaviors could be beyond the control of individuals with AD and should be patient with them. Early-onset AD Although AD mostly affects people aged over 65 years, younger individuals account for around 5-10% of all AD cases. The occurrence of this illness in individuals under the age of 65 years is referred to as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The perception that AD is a condition that affects only older individuals may cause younger individuals to ignore AD symptoms and delay seeking the necessary help. Early detectionTrusted Source can help initiate treatment to delay the progression of AD. Direct communication Friends or family members may be unsure about how to react to the news of a person’s AD diagnosis. This may lead them to communicate with the spouse or caregiver about the health of the individuals with AD. Such conversations may sometimes occur in the presence of the individual with AD. Individuals living with dementia tend to perceive such conversations as patronizing, reinforcing a sense of loneliness and shame. Instead, a direct conversation with the person with AD about their health is more likely to be received as being caring. Caregivers and family members could help individuals with AD plan for their future and maintain a good quality of life as their disease progresses.
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