The other day I was watching a TV show; after the show I got up to get a glass of iced tea. I walked into my kitchen. Before I could get my glass of iced tea, my phone rang. I answered and chatted a moment. I let my cat go outside, then proceeded to do what I went into the kitchen to do. I stood there and could not remember why I had gone in the kitchen in the first place. I thought maybe if I went back to my chair in front of my TV I would remember, and I did. The reason I went into my kitchen was to get a glass of iced tea.
Now step back and remember those three deep breaths we talked about last week? This happens to all of us at some time or another. Do not worry, this is normal aging; our brains can hold onto 5 to 8 things at a time. This is our working memory. Working memory is a complex process that requires all the brain to work together. Our lives are so busy and as we age we may take a little longer to process things. We may misplace our keys or set out to do a task and get distracted. As we age new data reminds us of old data, we are slower to think and slower to do and we may hesitate more. As we age we are more likely to look before we leap. At times, we will know a person but their name just want come to our mind or we may not recall a certain word but describe the word to get it to pop up. Normal, normal, normal aging!!! My goodness we all have concerns about Alzheimer’s Disease. Remember Alzheimer’s is the number one condition of Dementia.
It is not normal aging when a person is unable to think the same and gets confused between the past and present. It is not normal aging when a person cannot place a person that is very familiar to them. It is not normal aging when a person gets stuck in a moment of time or the inability to think things out. It is not normal aging when a person’s personality or behavior becomes different. It is not normal aging when a person can’t find the word even with a visual, verbal or touch cue.
I am just touching on these things and I encourage you to empower yourself with awareness. Knowledge is power. When we as caregivers are aware of these things that are going on with our loved ones, we begin to understand why they do the things they do. Lots of things will make it look like a person has some condition of dementia such as a UTI, pain, depression and taking lots of medicine. Our society is not so tuned into this disease. If your loved one starts showing signs of abnormal aging you may want to consult your health care provider.
I would like to invite you to a “Positive Approach to Care™ Workshop” on Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 10 a.m.- 12 noon at Piney Green Baptist Church, 6040 High House Rd, Salemburg. Please pre-register by calling c910-592-4653 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge to attend.
Next week, I will give you many caregiver tips. Caregivers you need to prepare yourselves, it will not get easier it will become more difficult as this disease progresses. Please join me the second Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. in the Dept. of Aging training room for our Dementia Education and Alzheimer’s Support Group meeting. Hope you have a “Best Day Ever”.
Lesia Henderson is a Positive Approach to Care Independent Trainer and Sampson County Department of Aging Family Caregiver Support Specialist.