When we hear the words Alzheimer’s Disease we most often think of older folks being affected with it. But that is not always the case. Researchers are now finding that there are more and more younger adults who are being diagnosed with this disease to the tune of approximately 200,000 people in their 40s and 50s.
There are many myths, misconceptions and stereotypes about the disease largely due to the lack of public awareness. The more one talks about their diagnosis (the effects, what they are experiencing) the more receptive the public will become and the research and support for finding a cure can be reached more quickly. The people diagnosed with this disease just need to come out and not be ashamed of their diagnosis.
When first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s many will question the diagnosis or even dismiss it altogether. Then some may even withdraw from society and become isolated. Many people with Alzheimer’s continue to do quite well on their own during the early stage of this disease.
As the disease progresses, however, those diagnosed are at risk of wandering, which can be very dangerous, due to increased confusion and agitation. This added pressure takes a toll on the family dynamics especially on those caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s 24/7. For this reason it is beneficial to all parties involved to seek support in some form of an outlet, whether it would be a support group, an Adult Day Care or having extended family intervene. Support is crucial to the caregiver’s own health. If you don’t get some help with caring for your loved one, you’ll be in danger of ruining your own health and then the stress is compounded.
A fulltime caregiver may experience feelings of guilt ~ not being able care for their loved on their own. These feelings of guilt are natural for the fulltime caregiver ~ feeling inadequate, helpless, or even selfish for wanting time away from the situation. Respite options are important for everyone and there are options out there. If the option of having a loved one attend an Adult Day Center is chosen it can be beneficial to the fulltime caregiver and their loved one living with Alzheimer’s.
If you are caring for a loved one being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or know of someone who is in that situation, be encouraged to seek help in your/their journey of finding someone to help ease the burden and not go it alone.