World Alzheimer’s Day: What Is Alzheimer’s?

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day, a time to spread awareness of this disease and the people who suffer from it. Shockingly, one in ten people over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (AD). If you and your family are not affected yet, you most likely will be in the future.

I was one of several caregivers for my father during the seven years he lived after his diagnosis. Now I am the sole caregiver for a loved one who doesn’t recognize his diagnosis. I have learned that, contrary to what many assume, the Alzheimer’s patient is still the same person he or she has always been. Their memory deteriorates, and their behavior changes, often for the worse, but the behavior changes are part of the disease process and reactions to the fear and confusion they are experiencing. As the disease progresses, it may be difficult to recognize the personality of the individual, but deep down, it’s still there.

On his deathbed, we saw and felt my father’s spirit though he couldn’t communicate in any tangible way.

My sister Nancy Nicholson tells our father’s story in her book of tips for Alzheimer’s caregivers: Help! What Do I Do Now?: Caring for Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s

You can read another touching story in I Am Still Here.

O ALMIGHTY God, who art the giver of all health, and the aid of them that turn to thee for succour; We entreat thy strength and goodness in behalf of all thy servants who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and for their caregivers. Guide the minds and actions of those seeking a cure for this disease that patients may be healed of their infirmities, to thine honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The video below explains the progression of the damage to the brain.

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