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Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: It May Be Time for Hard Conversations – Richmond, VA

- Monday, November 30, 2015

Imagine your loved ones unable to remember who you are or what you mean to them — years of memories suddenly lost. Perhaps you no longer recognize the person now living inside a familiar body, the result of major personality shifts that cause sudden and unpredictable mood changes.

The heartbreaking reality of Alzheimer's is that the insidious disease declares war on the mind, mounting an all-out assault on the intellectual capabilities of some 5 million Americans. About one in 10 of them live among us. That's why it's especially important that we pay particular attention during Alzheimer's Awareness Month, which runs throughout November.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, someone in the United States develops the disease every 67 seconds. That's just the tip of the iceberg, though, since the disease also afflicts countless family members and friends who are called upon to serve as caregivers.

Caring for patients with Alzheimer's and other dementias can be all-consuming, unrelenting work, yet the Alzheimer's Association tells us that more than 40 percent of caregivers must make due on household incomes of $50,000 or less. When the time and financial burden becomes too high to bear, many caregivers turn to long-term elder care for assistance when it's no longer possible for the patient to continue living at home.

For families that don't have individuals who are able to step in and help the way our family could, Alzheimer’s care centers aim to lighten the load by providing exceptional skilled nursing care and assisted living services to people living with Alzheimer's. Alzheimer’s care centers provide professional and compassionate care to thousands of people, including those with dementia.

To give your loved ones the best chance at slowing the inevitable decline, we should all be on the lookout for early warning signs — things like memory loss that disrupts daily life, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks or confusion. We should help our loved ones quickly seek a diagnosis, as early intervention can help combat some of the disease's devastating effects.

Another thing that helps is develop a daily routine and identifying sources of strength, from family to friends to even a beloved pet.

For volunteer caregivers, when the needs of the person suffering from Alzheimer's are too great, it's comforting to know that excellent professional long term care is available.

Our loved ones deserve nothing less.

For more information on Alzheimer’s Care, contact Spring Arbor.

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Sun Sentinel