Not Just Memory Loss

memory lossDementia is so much more than memory loss. Forgetting names, places, and words is just the tip of the awful iceberg.

Dementia affects memory, behavior, speech, and much more. Understanding Dementia is easier if we pause and think about a few things we know. Let’s examine a few facts.

  1. Dementia is a brain disorder.
  2. Most types of dementia get worse, but not better.
  3. There currently is no cure.

There are many different types of Dementia.

Parkinson’s, Lewy Body, Frontal Temporal, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. They can start in one area of the brain and progress to others doing irreversible damage as they migrate.

Dementia causes the brain to lose connections and shrink. In some cases, plaques and tangles are formed that literally cut off communication between neurons. With Alzheimer’s, high levels of specific proteins both inside and outside brain cells make it difficult for them to communicate.

Our brain controls everything we do:

eat, sleep, walk, feel hungry, moderate our behavior, control emotions and mood swings, and even the act of breathing is initiated by our brain. If our brain is damaged, there will be abnormalities.

Alzheimer’s typically starts in the hippocampus,

the section of the brain that controls memory. That’s why most people associate memory loss with Alzheimer’s. It is the first symptom people notice, but memory loss is only the beginning.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, more and more parts of the body are affected. The filters we all have in place to keep us behaving in a good and acceptable manner disappear. Persons may become irrational, rude, suspicious, jealous, or overly flirty.

It is important we remember this is the disease, not our loved one.

Our loved one is no longer in control of their emotions or language, the disease takes over. My advice is to be kind, always respectful, and patient with the person they are now.

It’s okay to grieve the person they were.

We love and miss the relationship we once had. You may yet be blessed with tiny glimpses of their old self, I was!

My mother-in-law had been ravaged by Alzheimer’s Disease. She could no longer speak or feed herself, so I helped her. One day as I was helping her get dressed, she suddenly threw her arms around my neck and somehow managed to whisper, “thank you.” I cried, she cried, and then her eyes took on that familiar faraway glazed look. She was gone again.

She had come back to me for just a few seconds, yet they are seconds I will forever cherish!

I challenge you to look for those moments.

Enjoy and remember them. Let’s count our blessings instead of our sorrows, shall we?

Be blessed.

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I am an author, speaker, caregiver, and Grammy. The latter is by far the most fun! Having been a primary caregiver 3x, I realized so many lessons were learned too late to benefit my Dad who passed of Parkinson's Disease. I resolved to write a book to make life easier and safer for other caregivers that would get them ideas, inspiration, and lessons learned. It's called "Caregiving: How To Hold On While Letting Go" available on Amazon. I am a Certified Caregiver Consultant and Advocate as well as a Community Educator for the Alzheimer's Assoc. and Founder of The PurpleVine LLC

I want to know more caregiving tips, and resources, plus get FREE gifts!

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