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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When Someone You Love Has Alzheimer's Disease

One of the most difficult things to deal with in life is to watch someone you love deteriorate over time because of Alzheimer's disease.  Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's.  There are medications that can slow the progression of the disease, but they cannot stop it from ravaging the brain.  Since there is no cure, you can feel extremely helpless watching someone you love get worse and not being able to do anything about it.


Alzheimer's is a "rule out" disease, which means that other medical problems must be eliminated first in order for a medical doctor to diagnosis someone with Alzheimer's.  Over time, Alzheimer's causes memory loss, usually starting with short term memory and eventually progressing to long term memory.

In the early stages, it can be hard to detect because it can look like many other medical problems, which is why other disorders and diseases must be ruled out first.  As Alzheimer's progresses, it will eventually affect a person's ability to perform basic tasks, like taking care of themselves.  It will also, in the advanced stage, affect their ability to speak and walk.  People with advanced Alzheimer's often have poor judgment.  It affects mood, so the person often becomes irritable or loses his or her temper.

If you have a loved one that has Alzheimer's, you need emotional support.  Taking care of someone with Alzheimer's can wear you down.  It's painful to watch someone who was a very vibrant and capable person before Alzheimer's, deteriorate.  Your loved one might not even seem to be the same person that you've always known.  He or she might not recognize you and lash out at you.  At those times, you might feel very alone and need help yourself.

The Alzheimer's Association is a wonderful resource.  They provide support to caregivers on so many levels:  emotional as well as educational.  Participating in one of their support groups with other people who have loved ones with Alzheimer's can be very helpful.  Being around others who are going through what you're going through can be a tremendous relief, so you don't feel so alone.

The Alzheimer's Association also provides free meetings to help you with financial and legal questions. Elder care attorneys present legal information that affect people who have spouses, parents or other relatives with Alzheimer's.  In addition, the Alzheimer's Association has a virtual library online so you can educate yourself.

Also, see When Someone You Love Has Alzheimer's Disease - Part 2:  http://psychotherapist-nyc.blogspot.com/2012/09/when-someone-you-love-has-alzheimers_20.html. 

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's, don't go it alone.  Contact the Alzheimer's Association near you and get support.

To contact the Alzheimer's Association, you can go to their website:  http://Alz.org.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

Photo Credit: Photo Pin




2 comments:

agemattersclinic said...

Alzheimer's disease is believed to be caused by a build up of protein called amyloid beta which forms plaques and tangles in the brain.

Alzheimer specialist

Josephine Ferraro, LCSW said...

agemattersclinic thanks for your comment. I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment on this very important topic.