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No. Although memory loss is the most widely known symptom of Alzheimer’s, dementia is the decline of all intellectual functioning, which can include learning, judgment, language skills, and eventually physical decline.
Dementia is the medical term for the loss of intellectual functioning, characterized by loss of memory, cognitive functions, and judgment. Alzheimer’s disease is the number one cause of dementia. Other dementing illnesses include Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and AIDS-related dementia, and Pick’s disease, among others
“Senility” is an outdated term to describe what we now know to be dementia. Senility is not a normal or healthy part of aging.
No. Alzheimer’s disease is a cognitive disease that results in memory loss, deterioration of intellectual function, and loss of judgment. Although people with Alzheimer’s disease can sometimes exhibit behavior that seems strange, it is due to the brain damage from the disease, and is not a symptom of mental or emotional illness.
Wrong. Approximately five million people in the United States alone have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the fourth leading cause of death for adults.
Behavior depends on the individual and the stage of the disease. Contrary to popular stereotypes, people with dementia are not usually crazy or violent. In fact, keeping a person with Alzheimer’s active and stimulated is one of the biggest tasks for a caregiver. Without a caregiver’s intervention, an Alzheimer’s patient can get depressed or isolated easily. Some of this is the function of the disease process itself, but some of it stems from a deep sense of loss.
As you might imagine, people with dementia get confused very easily and often mistake one person for another. Here at Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay, we find it best to respond to odd questions or statements by trying to discern the emotion underneath. For example, if someone is at home but keeps saying they want to go home, they are probably feeling lost or scared. Telling them “I’m here with you, you’re going to be okay,” is much more productive than saying, “But you are home!” over and over.
People with Alzheimer’s often repeat the same stories or ask the same questions over and over, a function of their memory loss. It is best to remain patient and answer the question in a low-pitched, gentle voice. Respond to the emotion underneath the question or story. You can also try to redirect the person’s attention.
Here at ASEB, our trained staff are very gentle, patient, and creative in helping our participants, yet they also know that a technique that worked in the morning may not work at night.
Working with Alzheimer’s means always looking for clues and constantly adjusting your approach. The patient can’t change, so the staff member has to.
Absolutely not. Senility is an outdated term to describe what is now known as dementia. Occasionally, the term senility will still turn up, even in medical circles. Dementia is not a normal or healthy part of aging, and is caused by a number of syndromes, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, AIDS, and strokes.
Of course, no one is happy to hear a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for themselves or a loved one. Losing cognitive functioning and memory progressively is very painful. However, here at ASEB, we strongly believe that there is life after diagnosis. When a caregiver learns to take each moment as it come, and accept who their loved one is now, there can be moments full of love, laughter, and fun.
People with Alzheimer’s disease may not be exactly the people they were before the disease, but they are indeed people—with emotions, interests, and personality.
Yes, people do die from Alzheimer’s—it is a progressive, debilitating, and terminal disease. Because the victims of Alzheimer’s are usually elderly, some do die from unrelated conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, or stroke. But Alzheimer’s disease is the fourth leading cause of death in adults. There is no cure or treatment yet.
No one knows at this point. There have been many well-publicized research breakthroughs lately, but the answer (and the cure) is still some time away. Despite recent discoveries, researchers still don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s. There is no treatment or cure yet.
If you know someone who you think might have Alzheimer’s, it is important to have a clinical diagnosis. Some forms of dementia are, unlike Alzheimer’s, reversible and treatable.
Unfortunately, no. Alzheimer’s disease has no cure or treatment. There have been many well-publicized research breakthroughs lately, but the answer (and the cure) is still some time away. Despite recent discoveries, researchers still don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s. There is not treatment or cure yet.
Individuals can live from five to twenty years after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. That’s why careful financial and legal planning is so crucial for families.