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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What to do when Alzheimer's Strikes


I am now getting a few referrals each week asking me what to do when Alzheimer's strikes. I usually start with the following recommendations.

What to do when Alzheimer's Strikes

First, I would purchase these two books.

1. The Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems
2. The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Dementia, and Memory Loss

I am an Alzheimer's caregiver with six years experience and I still refer to these books often.

I usually ask how the diagnosis was achieved. Did the sufferer receive an MRI and a series of test? It no longer surprises me that more often than not the answer is no.

There are a long list of diseases and illness that can present as Alzheimer's.

While it is not well known, there are 8 types of dementia. If the persons is suffering from a form of dementia other than Alzheimer's, the standard Alzheimer's treatments can worsen the illness, rather than treating it effectively. I would suggest reading this article to learn about the types of dementia--Dementia and the Eight Types of Dementia.

Dementia (Alzheimer's disease) like symptoms can be caused by numerous factors. The following can present as a false positive for Alzheimer's--brain lesions, infections like meningitis, too much or too little thyroid hormone, stroke, depression, and medication side-effects.

I suggest you read this article to get a good understanding of this issue--Is it really Alzheimer's or something else?

To get help, one of the first things I always ask is if the person lives near a University? Many Universities have Wellness Centers and they might have an entire divisions dedicated to Alzheimer's and dementia. If so, they can be one of the most important sources of help and information that you will ever find.

I also suggest contacting the local Senior Center to determine if they have a social worker that is well versed in Alzheimer's and Alzheimer's caregiving. If so, you can go in and learn a great deal in a single 45 minute meeting. They can usually provide a good list of Alzheimer's support groups.

You might want to review these even if you have been caring for a while.


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BobDeMarco
+Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
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