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Are you ashamed of Alzheimer’s? Speak-up instead, See your doctor, Get a diagnosis, Make a care-plan!

Posted Mar 19 2011 8:05pm
03/19/2011 By ~ Sandy Leave a Comment

“Nearly 15 million Americans are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and the number is rising, according to a report released Tuesday. ” Reports HealthDay News.

The article goes on to say, “About 5.4 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease, and their 14.9 million caregivers provided a total of 17 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $200 billion, according to the report, which also highlights the physical and emotional burdens that caregivers face every day.”

This is a loud declaration about the need for care-planning as soon as an individual is diagnosed. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed, the report noted. To me, that means we need to make ourselves heard, raise awareness, request more research funds.

Yet, many folks wait and wait before accepting the realization that they may have Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Is shame holding us back, some erroneous sense of embarrassment about having Alzheimer’s or Dementia?

While the death rates for heart disease, stroke and several other major diseases declined from 2000 to 2008, deaths related to Alzheimer’s disease increased by 66 percent. By the year 2050, the annual total number of new cases of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is expected to double.

Not to mention, many forms of dementia are reversible, and a good regimen of medication can attack Alzheimer’s and delay the progress.

Many caregivers are  stressed by some of the behaviors that can accompany memory loss, which might be controlled if the right balance of medications are sought and prescribed by their physician. Another caregiving expert said that people need to know and understand what their limits are and what they’re good at. Then they might share the responsibilities of care so that no one person in the family shoulders the entire burden.

All of this is part of a “care-plan”; who will handle the finances, who will stay up at night, who will visit weekly, where will the person live when they can no longer live alone? Once diagnosed, the entire family can help to work out a care-plan.

So speak out! Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. You aren’t alone in your fight against Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Make an appointment TODAY  to see your family physician if you suspect your memory problems might be more than normal aging!

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