By Jonni Belden, Pioneer Manor Administrator
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. Scientists have identified factors that increase the risk of Alzheimer's. The most important risk factors—age, family history and heredity—can't be changed, but emerging evidence suggests there may be other factors we can influence. Diet, exercise, prevention of injury (especially head injury), control of high blood pressure and diabetes are all strategies that can slow or halt dementia risk.
Alzheimer's has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues.
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. Here are some other warning signs of Alzheimer's:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
- Confusion with time or place.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
- Decreased or poor judgment.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood and personality.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs, please see a doctor. Early diagnosis gives you a chance to seek treatment and plan for the future. You can learn more at The Alzheimer's Association,
We care for residents with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia in our Memory Support Unit (MSU) at
Pioneer Manor. The Legacy Living & Rehabilitation Center, our new long-term care facility now under
construction, will have a 20-bed MSU with private rooms. The unit features a large dining area, activity area and a secure outdoor patio and green space. We'll also have a sensory Snoezelen (multisensory) room to help residents who may need a calm and quiet environment for a few hours.
The Legacy will open in the fall of next year, and you'll be hearing more about this wonderful facility in the coming months as construction progresses.
November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s is a complex neurological disease that is the most common form of dementia. More than 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s and more than 10 million are caring for a loved one with the disease. You can learn more about this disease as well as find resources for caregivers at The Alzheimer's Association,
www.alz.org. During the month of November, you can honor a Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers by sharing a personal tribute message on their page: