June focuses attention on a condition more debilitating than cancer, scarier to watch progress than cancer and leaves doctors and researchers baffled at its mere existence, Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month shines the light on a disease that affects the memory of an otherwise healthy adult. While most cases strike in the elderly, cases of early onset, where symptoms appear as early as 40, are becoming more common every year.
This is a disease that takes memories, moments and families and tears them apart.
The movie "Still Alice" is a groundbreaking story that brings to life the effects of the disease not just for the patient, but everyone who loves that patient. While its Oscar winning performances garnered international acclaim, it is the real-life individuals and familiies that should be celebrated for their daily courage.
A Lifetime Lost
A man, a WWII vet, fought in a war, married the love of his life and raised his children always remembering where he came from and what he had done. Until one dreadful day when he forgot his keys. He had no idea where his keys were but he knew he needed them. Except he didn't know why he needed them or where he was going to go. Then he wondered why his bride looked so old and then he didn't know why these women where calling him "dad."
In his mind, he was 20 years old and a newlywed. He had no kids, he had returned home from war just weeks before. He had no idea where he was or where his life had gone. He could easily tell you of battles fought and the brothers he lost like it was yesterday, because in his mind, it was just yesterday.
Alzheimer's is a disease that creates a regression in a person's memory. In their mind, they are living in their memories like they are in the present. They do not realize that an entire lifetime has passed. They do not recognize their loved ones, their spouse or their children. They also tend to forget how to take care of themselves, they forget to shower, brush their teeth and sometimes, even get dressed. This is why many who suffer require full-time care either in a home, with a home health nurse, skilled nursing facility or assisted living center; somewhere that they are safe from themselves.
While the Alzheimer's patient does not know what is happening, the family are often the ones that suffer. They are the ones who need to make the tough decisions because their loved one can no longer make decisions on their own, they are merely a shell of who they used to be.
If someone you love suffers from this debilitating disease, or if you are seeking caregivers such as a nurse, home health aide, or elder care professional, please contact us.
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