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LRH Recognizes Alzheimer's Awareness Month

November 13, 2018

Littleton, NH - Littleton Regional Healthcare recognizes the importance of National Alzheimer's Awareness Month that takes place each November. President Ronald Reagan made this designation in 1983; at the time there were less than 2 million people with the disease. Today, there are over 5 million. In a recently published study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projects this number to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060. Although Alzheimer's most commonly affects those 65 years of age and older, there are thousands under 65 with early-onset Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. It's a term describing a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills. A patient has dementia when symptoms are severe enough to prevent a person from performing activities of daily living (ADL) on his/her own. ADLs include eating, bathing, walking.

As we age, our brains changes. Concern about yours or a loved one's brain function could be a symptom of developing Alzheimer's. The symptoms include memory loss (asking for the same thing over and over), trouble planning or solving problems (difficulty following directions or simple recipes), misplacing items (and losing ability to retrace steps), and mood changes (becoming confused, suspicious, depressed). It's important to bring your worries to your health care provider. There are simple screening tests to find out if your concerns are normal aging or something more serious.

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, there are things you can do to make it easier for people with Alzheimer's. These include keeping a daily routine and keeping things simple. For example, present only one idea at a time. This gives the person plenty of time to understand the best they can. Always try to make the person feel safe and comfortable. Even though you may feel frustrated, keep your voice calm. Remember that the person with Alzheimer's is frustrated too, no longer grasping what's going on inside their mind.

To learn more about Alzheimer's, point your browser to the CDC Alzheimers Page. The National Library of Medicine's MEDLINEplus has many links to good information on the importance of Alzheimer's caregivers' caring for themselves. Alzheimer's Caregivers info on MedlinePlus. Also, the Alzheimer's Association has a wealth of information at www.alz.org

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