Dealing with Dementia: National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Post by Bhumi Bhavsar

Did you know that 5.3 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s? In honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, HealthNet Behavioral Health Provider, Bhumi Bhavsar, discusses the importance of caregivers as well as dealing with a family member suffering from dementia.

http://www.alz.org/

What is Alzheimer’s? 

Dementia has a group of symptoms:  most prominent is difficulty with memory, along with problems in one of the following areas as well: cognitive functioning, including language, attention, problem solving, spatial skills, judgment, planning, or organization.  There are many causes of dementia, some causes can be irreversible, which means if the cause of dementia is found, than the person can return to normal functioning.  However, most causes of dementia are not reversible and can be progressive over time.  One of the most common causes of dementia is Alzheimer’s, which accounts for about 70-80% of dementia cases.  November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.  But do we all know what that means?  It is a disease related to loss of one’s memory, thinking, and behavior.  Over time it is a disease that gets worse.  There are various stages of Alzheimer’s, which accompanies with it a set of symptoms at each progressive stage.  Click here for more information on symptoms at each stage.

Do you know someone who has Alzheimer’s or are a caregiver?

It is a particularly sad disease to see your loved ones suffering from this.  A young person once told me how it is hard for them to see their loved one in such a manner, as it makes them sad knowing they will never have the same conversations they once used to.  I recall during my undergraduate years, working on a unit with people having dementia and Alzheimer’s – it pulled at my heart strings daily. Every time I saw family coming to visit their loved ones and they didn’t recognize them or would hit them and be mean to them, it was hard.  Family would share how their loved one was once so accomplished or had so many skills.

If you are a caregiver of someone that has Alzheimer’s, it is very important to take some time out to take care of yourself as well in the process.  You may be experiencing a lot of emotions yourself, ranging anywhere from guilt, anger, frustration, and depression.  Make sure you ask your loved one’s doctor, social worker, etc all the questions you need to ask.  There are support groups out there to get the necessary emotional support for yourself as well.

If you’d like to make an appointment to speak with a Behavioral Health Provider, or for more information, please visit www.indyhealthnet.org. 

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