In 2014 there were 815,827 people in the U.K. with Alzheimer’s. Roughly 95%, or 773,502 were 65 years old and over.
Ted McDermott, 79 years old, is one of them.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive deterioration of the brain that can occur in middle or old age.
In 2013, Ted was diagnosed with dementia and began to deteriorate He started having difficulties in recognizing loved ones and sometimes showed angry outburst.
Attending to Alzheimer’s victims is often a caregiver’s nightmare. They have lucid moments, when they act normally, and lurid moments, when they are totally lost to reality. Each is triggered differently from patient to patient.
Ted was an entertainer all his life, performing in pubs and clubs across England. Perhaps by coincidence, his lucidity is triggered by music, which his son, Simon, “Mac,” McDermott, 40, has exploited.
Wanting his Dad happy, Mac often takes his Ted on a ride singing some of his favorite songs. Here’s one of them.
What causes Alzheimer’s?
Its cause is not yet fully understood but scientists believe a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors which, over time, damage and kill brains cells.
As more brain cells die, the brain shrinks. A brain affected by Alzheimer’s has a lot fewer cells and connections compared to a healthy brain.
How to know if Alzheimer’s is gaining up on you:
There are an estimated 5.2 million Americans, aged 65 and over, who are afflicted with Alzheimer’s. To avoid becoming a part in this deadly statistics, you must know these early warning signs so you can immediately seek medical attention.
1. Memory loss:
Things forgotten due to age-related memory loss is often remembered. Not with Alzheimer’s.
Forgetting recently learned information, important dates and events, asking the same information over and over, are indicators of the onset of Alzheimer’s.
2. Difficulty in planning or solving problems:
Committing errors while doing tasks you never had problems before can happen to anyone with advanced years.
But to have difficulties in developing or following a plan, difficulty in concentrating, work with numbers, keeping track of monthly bills, or following a familiar recipe is an indication of early brain deterioration.
3. Difficulty in doing familiar tasks at home, or at work:
Sometimes I have to call my son to re-teach me how to use some of the apps in the smartphone I inherited from him. But it’s because I seldom use them.
With Alzheimer’s, not only will you forget how to use it, you will have problems completing its execution. You may experience trouble in driving to a familiar place, managing a home or work budget, or rules of your favorite game.
4. Confusion with time and place:
As a retiree and no longer keeping track of paydays or weekends, I sometimes forget the day or date. But I can easily get back on track by looking at the calendar or my timepiece.
People with Alzheimer’s often forget where they are or how they got there. They lose track of the time, i.e. days of the week, or months in the year. They even lose track of seasons, or the passage of time.
5. Trouble with Vision and Distance:
Eye problems among seniors are normally caused by age-related eye deterioration or cataracts.
People with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty in reading, judging distance, color or contrast, which could cause driving risks.
6. Speaking or writing problems:
Even the most mentality acute senior would often grope for the right words in the middle of a conversation.
But if you stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to go on, repeat yourself, struggle with words or, worse, call things by the wrong name, then you may be having the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
7. Misplacing things or inability to retrace steps:
If only misplacing things is a sign of Alzheimer’s then I must be having the disease. But I can retrace the events or my steps to joggle my memory to where I left them in most occasions.
Alzheimer’s victims cannot do that. They cannot retrace the events or their steps to try to figure out where they left them. Because of this, they may accuse others of stealing them.
8. Changes in decision-making or judgment:
Occasionally making sound judgment or good decision is always difficult even with healthy people.
But with Alzheimer’s it becomes the norm. They often make poor judgment in money matters. They pay less attention to good grooming, or personal hygiene.
9. Becoming a recluse:
People, young or old, normally have the urge to withdraw from other people, to get away from everything to find themselves, or just to recharge batteries.
But if, for no apparent reason, you suddenly don’t like to get on with your favorite hobby, social activities, sports, or avoid your best buddies, dementia may slowly be starting to creep in on you.
10. Mood and personality changes:
We all have our own mood swings but personality, what you are and how you carry yourself, seldom change.
Dementia is often preceded by confusion, suspicion of others, depression, fear, or anxiety. You may easily be upset at home or at work, with friends or places where they are not so comfortable.
If you love yourself and your family, if you feel any of the above, immediately seek medical attention so you can avail of various treatments for early stage Alzheimer’s.
Attending to an Alzheimer’s patient is never easy, even for the most seasoned and patient caregivers. Don’t be one.
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