Why Alzheimer’s Awareness is Necessary

03 December 2020 / By Social Media

Whenever we think of November, we think of festivities, positivity and hugs from our loved ones. However, along with Diwali, November is also known as the National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month which needs our attention. 

Alzheimer's disease is an extremely debilitating brain disorder seen in the geriatric population, ie. mid 60's and above, wherein, the brain cells start degenerating. In mild and early cases, this causes subtle memory loss. But as the disease progresses, one's cognitive skills are severely hampered, causing confusion, difficulty in carrying out conversations, everyday tasks and manipulating the environment. 

Since one's physical health is directly proportional to one's mental health, at least 70 percent alzheimer's affected individuals tend to have comorbid mental illnesses (American Psychiatric Association, 2019). They are more susceptible to depression due to isolation and might become increasingly anxious as they cannot cope with change. It also causes personality variations. The affected individual might get increasingly violent at their caregiver who is trying to help and has general irritability due to lack of independence in doing daily tasks such as travelling or maintaining hygiene. Due to the pervasive nature of the disease, it affects all spheres of a person's life, be it personal, social or occupational. 

One important fact of Alzheimer's is that it's irreversible. So, if a person is affected by it, he/she cannot go back to normal. There is no cure. Even though alzheimer’s doesn't directly lead to death, the complications caused due to the disease might cause significant morbidity and mortality among patients (Gupta, 2015). 

In today's day and age, it has become imperative to spread more awareness about the following issues- 

  1. Alzheimer's Screening
  2. Treatments Available for Alzheimer's
  3. How should caregivers support a patient with Alzheimer's

Firstly, even though there is no cure for alzheimer's, early detection helps a patient is manage his lifestyle to enhance the quality of life and further prepares his loved ones to decide on long term plans. Screening for alzheimer’s involves routine medical tests, as well as some memory tests given by a neurologist. 

Secondly, spreading awareness about treatment options available helps in modifying one's finances and time accordingly. Various treatments that may be beneficial are cognition-enhancing medicines and various self care strategies such as exercise, nutrition and keeping up with one's hobbies and interests. 

According to Anand (2016), caregivers of a patient suffering from alzheimer’s tend to face high levels of stress. Therefore, it's very important to psycho educate them so that their ambiguity is reduced and they can care for the patient in an optimal manner while also taking care of themselves. 

To conclude, according to Sengupta (2018), almost 4 million people are suffering from Alzheimers in India which is the third highest in the world. In India, this is a hidden issue as only few people are diagnosed and treated  since people assume that memory loss is a normal ageing effect. Hence, we need to spread more light on this pressing issue so that our elderly feel safer and more empowered.

References

1.Parekh, R. (2019) What is Alzheimer’s Disease. American Psychiatric Association. 

Retrieved from- Here

2.Gupta, R. ; Ali, R. ; Chari, D. (2015) Reversible dementia in elderly: Really uncommon? Journal of Geriatric Mental Health, Volume (2), Issue (1) , 30-37. 

Retrieved from- Here

  1. Anand, K. S. (2016) Perceived caregiver stress in Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment” A case control study. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, 19(1); 58-62.

          Retrieved from- Here

  1. Sengupta, A. (2018) Memory’s Last Breath: Living with Alzheimers in India. News18.com

           Retrieved From- Here

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