The Very Best Gift You Can Give an Alzheimer's Patient

Christmas, birthday, anniversary – all days that call for a gift of some kind. But when it's a gift for someone with Alzheimer's disease, what do you do? I struggled with this problem for years as I thought to come up with the perfect gift for my dad, a victim of this cruel disease.

Over the course of his twelve-year struggle, I observed one gift that never failed to bring a sparkle to the eyes of these special people and joy to those around them.

The Gift

Create one-of-a-kind photograph albums containing both old and new pictures of their lives, their friends and families. Include photos from their travels and special occasions. Include photos and illustrations from each decade of their life.

Perhaps you do not have something from each decade, so here's a tip. Go to state and federal government websites to find royalty-free photos that you can use at no cost. The government of the United States keeps a huge library of photos that you can access from their website, firstgov.gov . Do check the copyright carefully because a few photos may require special permission to use.

The Special Touches

  • Create your albums with scanned copies of the photos that will spark memories. Why not use the originals? Because you can easily replace damaged copies, and you will still have the originals. Many printers and photo shops will scan photos for you if you can not scan them yourself. Once scanned, you can print the copies on your color printer or have a local photo printer do it for you.
  • While you're making copies, be sure to make them as large as you can. Albums now days can hold photos as large as 8 "" by 11 ", so fill the pages with images large enough to be easily enjoyed by eyes that may not see as well now as they once did. You may sacrifice some photographic quality, but it will probably go unnoticed by the recipient.
  • Label each photo with large type on inexpensive, sticky labels available at your local office supply store. Your Alzheimer's patient might not be able to read the labels, but a friend or sitter they want to share the album with almost certainly will.

The Most Important Part

Spend time with your loved one looking at the pictures and reminiscing about the past. Even when they can no longer talk about them, they'll enjoy spending the time listening to you talk about the pictures.

A thoughtfully created photo album will become one of the most treasured possessions of an Alzheimer's patient. Make one for someone you love.

Alzheimer's – Aging Gracefully in the Mirror is a Matter of the Mind

The old adage, "age is a matter of mind," has often intrigued me. However, it was not until I learned about Alzheimer's disease that I felt the full implications of the phrase.

On any given morning I can wake up feeling 16 … okay, maybe not 16, but at least 26. Then there are those occasional other mornings, when Mr. Arthur Itis (arthritis) is loud knocking at my body's door. At those moments, I swear I'm 86. However, regardless of how young or old I feel, when the radio alarm begins to blare, the body must move in forward motion. Sadly, this is where it all begins. Reality sets in when in route to the bathroom a wall of mirrored closet doors suddenly reflects my true image. I whisper "Ugh." Then the voice of reality screams, "56 … you are chronologically 56 years old." I scream back, "liar."

But somewhere in between, in a space between youth and wisdom, I lose track again. My weary frame sits on the edge of the bed and mentally makes a list: (1) I need to wake the children; (2) I need to make breakfast and pack their lunches; and (3) I need to walk them safely to the bus stop. There is no way, I'm 56 years old. I'm 36 years young and a mother of three school age children. Or maybe, just maybe I'm not. Could those last 20 years have just slipped away? The mirrors must be lying. If not, where has all the time gone?

The reality of the mirror is also very reflective of the person who has been afflicted with Alzheimer's. It has stolen their adulthood, the golden years, and the image reflected is indeed a stranger. For a person with Alzheimer's, time is a matter of mind. Their here and now is often our past and long ago. Daughters become mothers and sons become fathers. For the most part, they are in the prime of their life and the thought of having grown children or grandchildren is often inconceivable.

So, when your mother who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, yells out, "Help … someone is in my room" or "there is a stranger in the bathroom," it is the reality of the infamous mirror that is playing tricks. However, as unsettling as this may be for you, her call for help is her reality. You need to respond in a calming and loving fashion. Do not contradict her and declare that no one is there. She taught you better. She saw someone she believes to be real. At this joke, a confrontation is the last thing you need. So, assure her that you will take care of the situation. Calmly redirect her to a different room and attempt to involve her in a simple activity.

Note that full length mirrors tend to be the most offensive culprits. There is a life sized person from head to toe, starring at her. There is a life size person moving when she moves and being still when she is still. She does not recognize herself. Finally she cries out loud, "Who are you? Do not hurt me. Help someone, help me!"

Decorative mirrors or vanity mirrors are less offensive but can still cause a great deal of stress. The reflective image is not full bodied but can still be perceived as a threat. A woman or man with Alzheimer's could become combative at the site of this stranger.

Fortunately for me, my temporary loss of reality is always jolting me back to my real age. Unfortunately, a person with Alzheimer's has lost that ability. In their mind, they are much younger and they really do not recognize the person in the mirror. So if you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, take stock of their surroundings. While it's best to remove these antagonistic objects, it is understandable that it may not be feasible. Therefore, be creative. Currently, there are many products on the market that can mask a mirror. Decals are also a good solution to break up the reflective images. Finally, you may even want to tape up a collage of favorite pictures for everyone to enjoy.

Alzheimer's Diet

ALZHEIMER'S SYMPTOMS

Alzheimer's is a terrible disease of the brain which affects a growing number of people. Millions of family's have a family member affected by this. The first signs that something is wrong is the forgetfulness. It slowly gets worse but this is only the short term memory. The longer term memory is not affected in the early stages. You often find a confused look on their face. As it progresses, the memory gets worse. They forget to eat so you get weight loss. They forget to wash and shower so they start to smell. When they are in familiar surroundings they run on auto pilot but if they go out anywhere they are lost and confused.

When you take them to the doctors you have to persuade the doctor there is something wrong. If he has any experience with Alzheimer's you can quickly get diagnosed and into the system for help. If your doctor is not so good you come out thinking it is you that is paranoid. With my family member the doctor thread me out of his surgery because I was insistent that there was a problem and he said everything was right when it was clearly not. Some doctors think they are superior animals.

Other things happen as well depending on the responsibilities of the person. Bills might not be paid. Appointments forgotten, you will find objects in strange places because they do not know where they belong. Washing does not get done, Gardening is forgotten. If they go out on their own they could have gone ages because they are confused.

As the illness progresses you find they go through a violent stage. Hopefully it will have been diagnosed by then. Understanding what is going on helps you to cope. With my family member when I asked the doctor what is wrong he refused to tell me because of patient confidentiality. They could kill or maim you in your sleep and at the request the doctor can say they knew he / she was violent but could not tell anyone. Wow thanks a lot !!! Fortunately there are a lot of good doctors who use their common sense and can get the person to agree to let their husband / wife know. Getting the person with Alzheimer's to admit there is something wrong is hard work.

After the violent stage the mental capacity starts failing even more. Some people can walk through a doorway, turn round and walk back for hours on end. They literally do not know if they are coming or going. Draws are emptied and re packed time and time again. They try cooking and leave the gas on; they can walk off and get lost. The strain on the carer is tremendous. It is a great relief when they go into a home. Twenty four hour care is needed. Sometimes as the brain dies they become bed ridden, incontinent, can not eat. Their weight as death approaches is only about four or five stones. Sometimes if they survive the infections / pneumonia and a host of other diseases a part of the brain that controls breathing, the heart or some other important part stops and your loved one has defiantly moved on to a better place.

ALZHEIMER'S PREVENTION

This is the controversial bit. After you have been diagnosed, which could take a long time? There are various drugs that can help you. You have to take them for the rest of your life and cost a lot of money. This makes the drug companies very rich. But I am more interested in dieting. The more I look into how all the additives in processed food seems to be causing more and more concerns about people's health the more I look into the benefits of natural foods
My family has been cursed by Alzheimer's and I want to try and prevent it. By changing my diet I hope to. At the moment no one knows the cause of Alzheimer's and there is not a drug on the market that can reverse the ravages of Alzheimer's but by eating natural healthy foods that are high in omega 3 such as Salmon, herring or mackerel. You can cleanse your body of the toxic effect of all these processed foods and "fast foods" The body is full of too many acids, sugars, carbohydrates, excess fats and uric acid. By eating a healthy diet you will have far more energy and your body can be restored to what it should be and reduce the chance of serious diseases.Vegetables such as broccoli are a good source of "good food".

Alzheimers – A Personal Story

Alzheimers is a difficult disease for any family to deal with. When I was married over 15 years ago, my father-in-law was a joke telling, happy go lucky card playing person. We didn’t understand at first what started happening to him. At first, we thought it was just part of getting older. He would forget what he was doing, or where he put the keys or some other odd thing. We didn’t realize at the time, that all of us were about to start down a long and difficult road.

Alzheimer’s disease affects the mind in such a way, that the person (at least in our situation) cannot function in normal situations. It is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 4.5 million Americans.

A person with Alzheimer’s Disease might forget the simplest words, misplace things and have a loss of mental functioning including language, recognition of family, reading and writing.

In our situation, Dad started living more and more in the past, and less and less in the present. One time, when Dad’s wife was sick and in the hospital, he couldn’t remember where she was. “Where is she?”, Dad would ask. “She is at the hospital”, we would reply. Five minutes later, we would repeat the same discussion. We would do this over and over.

In our case, as Alzheimers progressed, Dad would stop recognizing us. One time, my wife went to visit and Dad screamed and yelled at the strange woman who had come over. Dad even threw a punch when the strange man known as his son came into the home.

Alzheimers is a disease that never seems to stop. As Dad’s condition worsened, he would start wandering off – not knowing where he was. We had to get a door alarm that would sound when the door was opened to keep him from leaving. However, even that didn’t work all the time. One time, in winter, Dad wandered off in his pajamas. We had to call the police to help us find him.

Now Dad has moved to a secure assisted living facility that is designed to care for patients with Alzheimers. He seems happy, but it is hard for us, to see his life so drained of what it was and what it could still be if he didn’t have Alzheimer’s disease. I think Alzheimers is a disease that affects the whole family. If we visit, he doesn’t know who we are. He doesn’t even remember that we were there. He still remembers that he was married, but he doesn’t remember to whom he was married.

What causes Alzheimers? The doctors don’t know for sure. Doctor’s know that each patient reacts differently to the disease and the disease progresses differently for each person. There is still no treatment for the disease. For our family, we take comfort knowing that Dad is happy and not in pain, even if he doesn’t know us anymore.

Is It Alzheimer's Or Simple Forgetfulness? An Alzheimer's Definition

Find out the real Alzheimer's definition. Learn what to do if you or someone you know seems to have Alzheimer's.

Do you or family members seem to be having memory problems? Always losing the keys? Forgetting to take your medicineor worse yet dont remember whether you took it or not? If youre worried that you or someone close to you may have Alzheimer's dont delay consulting a professional. Early diagnosis means early treatment. Some of the medications today are delaying the progress, so allowing a more normal lifestyle.

Alzheimer's Definition This disease is a severe type of mental deterioration, or dementia, usually affecting older people. Occidentally affecting people younger than sixty. It accounts for half of all dementias. The other half results from drug and alcohol abuse, infections, or stroke. Alzheimer's disease is estimated to affect 10% of all people older than sixty-five and nearly half of those older than 85.

Alzheimer's Definition of Symptoms

Early symptoms of Alzheimer's include general intellectual deficiency, memory loss, short attention span, moodiness, disorientations, and irritability. The difficult part of recognizing Alzheimer's early is the fact that the symptoms are very similar to the normal aging process and the changes that occur in mental function. Thinking, remembering, and reasoning all seem to decline as we age. These are the same classic symptoms of Alzheimer's.

Symptoms of the early stages of Alzheimer's are often ignored. A person with mild symptoms of Alzheimer's often seems healthy when in fact they are having trouble. The on-looker will often have trouble realizing somethings wrong, because the early symptoms seem just like normal aging.

A person in the early stages of Alzheimer's will still be able to do most normal activities like driving a car. The problem is they may get lost going to familiar places. They may display sadness, decreased interest in normal activities, and loss of energy. Difficult learning and remembering new information is another symptom of early Alzheimer's.

Some evidence exists that Alzheimer's disease may have characteristics of a chronic inflammatory disease, similar to arthritis. Anti-inflammatory drug therapy has had some effect in slowing its progress. Estrogen treatment may decrease or postpone symptoms in women.

As the disease progresses the Alzheimer's symptoms changes dramatically. In the moderate stage more predominant and disturbing behavioral changes occur. Putting things in strange placesfor example the hair dryer in the refrigerator. Time and normal functions of daily life became severely distorted to the person with moderate level Alzheimer's. They may forget to eat. Ask the same questions over and over, as well as a host of other abnormal behaviors.

In the advanced stages of Alzheimer's physical problems occurs. People with advanced Alzheimer's require constant care. They lose control of bodily functions, and may have problems standing and walking and other body movements. The progress of Alzheimer's varies from person to person.

There are some medications that help with the symptoms of Alzheimer's. Research is continuing on this debilitating disease. Make sure to see a physician if symptoms warrant. Quality of life and the delay the progress of Alzheimer's can be improved with medication and care.