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Microsoft word - fact sheet_alzheimer's_sarah.doc

Alzheimer’s Disease

Definition: Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the
brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills,
and behavioral changes.1
Characteristics of the Alzheimer’s disease:
• Confusion about times and places • Difficulty completing daily tasks (brushing teeth, getting dressed) • Changes in mood and personality (may include mood swings, withdrawal, and • Difficulty articulation (can’t find right words, unable to hold a conversation)2 Prevention:
• According to the Mayo clinic, there is little that one can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and currently drug therapies are being studied in more depth to see if there is any that will slow the possibility of contracting the disease3
Some statistics about Alzheimer’s disease:
• Approximately one in ten persons over age 65 and almost half of those 85 or older • Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed in around 4.2 million to 5.8 million Americans • In one out of four cases family members are actually the caregivers to those with
Treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease:
• Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. • There are four drugs used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. They are: Cognex, Aricept, Exelon and Razadyne. These stop the enzymes that break down the brain’s chemical acetylcholine, and may help slow the symptoms. • Namenda is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, and slows the decline in mental functioning. Aricept was also recently approved to treat severe Alzheimer’s as well as mild and moderate.5 1 Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 2007 <http://www.alzfdn.org/alzheimers/index.shtml> (28 June 2007) 2 Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 2007 <http://www.alzfdn.org/alzheimers/warning_signs.shtml> (28 June 2007) 3 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 January 2007 <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-disease/DS00161/DSECTION=> (28 June 2007) 4 Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 2007 <http://www.alzfdn.org/alzheimers/statistics.shtml> (28 June 2007) 5 Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 2007 <http://www.alzfdn.org/alzheimers/treatment.shtml> (28 June 2007) Current research findings on family adaptation to Alzheimer’s disease:
Chronic stress and immunity in family caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease victims6 Shows higher levels of stress compared to those not in a similar situation However, no significant immunological differences of those who are Alzheimer’s disease caregivers to those who are not • Communicating with persons with Alzheimer's disease: experiences of family and Looked at communication processes between both formal (doctors and trained personnel) and familial caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease Two important ideas that are needed to ensure good communications: environmental adjustments and reassurance By being able to redirect and manage the disruptive behavior during episodic events increases the length of time a familial caregiver is able to keep their loved one in the home • Burden among family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease in nursing Age played a large factor into the amount of burden fell after All other characteristics showed no significant variations Those who were seen as more involved in the care of the person with Alzheimer’s disease felt a greater sense of burden Experienced caregivers are more likely to implement the proper coping
Resources for families
• ElderCarelink is a website where family members and those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease can go to get references and a list of resources in their area. They provide links to facilities and different organizations depending upon the needs of those that contact the organization According to a staff member, for Minnesota, a great resource to find information about Alzheimer’s in our state is the State of Minnesota Website Chris Avery ElderCarelink.com Email address: cavery@eldercarelink.com
6 Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Glaser, R., Shuttleworth, E. C., Dyer, C. S., Ogrocki, P., & Speicher, C. E. (1987).
Chronic stress and immunity in family caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease victims. Psychosomatic Medicine,
49
, 523-535.
7 Richter, J. M., Roberto, K. A., & Bottenberg, D. J. (1995). Communicating with persons with Alzheimer's
disease: experiences of family and formal caregivers. Psychiatric Nursing, 9, 279-285.
8 Tomatore, J., & Grant, L. (2002). Burden among family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease in
nursing homes. The Gerontologist, 42, 497-506.

Source: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/pengx024/fsos4150102/Fact%20sheet_Alzheimer's_Sarah.pdf

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