We have become a community living with dementia. How so, you might ask? Dementia has knocked on many doors in our county. You probably can think of more than one family that has a loved one living with this disease. You most likely can think of more than two families.
Dementia affects the person, dementia affects the family, and dementia affects the friends, and thus affects our communities. I have talked in past articles about becoming a dementia-friendly community. How we start this is to become aware of this disease and knowing the effects.
Years ago, when a person suffered with Alzheimer’s their family and friends thought that they were crazy. My goodness I am happy we no longer have that perspective. Because we are more aware of what is going on and medical research, we have a different understanding and outlook. We are better with this information and knowledge, however there is always room for improvement.
I encourage all to become knowledgeable about dementia, because, if it has not visited your family you can rest assured in all probability it will. Statics reflect this: by the year 2030 we will have an Alzheimer’s disease tsunami. This is just 12 years away.
According to Alzheimer’s North Carolina, the youngest person they have encountered with Alzheimer’s disease was age 33. WOW!! That is younger than my adult children, who are both are still in their thirties!! I could not begin to imagine my son or my daughter being diagnosed with this condition of dementia. It is not normal aging, it is not a disease that only comes to the elderly. We need to wake up!! Every 67 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease, according to the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease, according to Medical News Today with cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, unintentional injuries (accidents) and stroke following.
I still find that families do not understand that dementia is an umbrella term that includes many conditions. There are 85-90 different conditions of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common condition. When a person is living with dementia their brain is dying. As a caregiver you must remember the person living with this disease is doing the best they can do. The caregivers are the ones with the good brain. The caregivers are the ones that can change how they care for the person living with dementia and how they approach them.
If you think your loved one is showing signs of dementia, you may consider getting this checked out by your health care provider. I would like to share some resources with you. A good resources for memory concerns is, Clinical Services for MARS Memory-Health Network 910-256-7898. MARS simply stands for Memory Assessment Research Services. They are located in Wilmington 219 Racine Drive Unit B. Another resource is Alzheimer’s North Carolina, they provide support, listening, caring and education. Alzheimer’s North Carolina is a resource center for families living with Alzheimer’s disease you can contact them at 1-800-228-8738 or 1-919-832-3732.
Remember to step away when you are feeling distress and take 3 deep breaths. Relax and take time for yourself. Hope you have a “Best Day Ever!”
Lesia Henderson is a Positive Approach to Care Independent trainer and Sampson County Department of Aging Faily Caregiver Support Specialist.