The Fear of An Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
The fear that accompanies the thought of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is often crippling. When I was a kid growing up in the Northeastern Hills of Pennsylvania, there was a word we all feared. Cancer! There is a thread of cancer that runs through my family history. My father, sister and aunt all had complications with cancer. Plus, as a young boy I watched my parents agonize over friends that were diagnosed with the disease. Through the years I have had friends and children of good friends diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, many of them came through with positive outcomes.
With all of the advancement in screenings and treatments for cancer, being diagnosed with the big “C” is not near as fatal as it once was. Make no mistake, cancer is no picnic in the park; but chances of survival with early detection and treatment are better than ever.
The New Cancer
Today, the word that seems to be feared most is Alzheimer’s. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s and the treatment only addresses the symptoms, not the disease itself. But, like cancer, advancement in treatments for Alzheimer’s will take time…and money. Hopefully we will be able to persevere long enough to come up with a cure.
Till then, we must deal with the hard, cold fact that Alzheimer’s is among us; causing heartache, heartbreak and much concern. An alzheimer’s diagnosis not only affects the diagnosed; it has a lasting impact on the health of family members and loved ones – of which many become the primary caregivers. Nobody signs up for that job; but many have no other option. Alzheimer’s care can be both expensive and exhausting. And the likelihood that a care-taking spouse will die before the person being cared for is surprisingly high. Obviously, it makes sense then to get support from every avenue possible.
Help For Family Members
I came across a book recently that is a MUST-READ for every person that has contact with someone who has Alzheimer’s. The book is titled, “Welcome to Planet Alzheimer’s”, and is written by Candace Stewart. Ms. Stewart knows firsthand the challenges facing families of loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; two of her family members were diagnosed with the illness, including her mother.
Her personal and professional experience prompted her to write the book. It’s a short, to the point, 10-page booklet regarding communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s; with a little laughter and love added in. You can contact me or swing by my office if you would like a complimentary copy.
Strength In Numbers
Another resource is support groups. Both the Bryan County Health & Rehab Center and Station Exchange Senior Care sponsor support groups. Again, contact me for more information on the next meeting dates. Coming together with other folks that are dealing with some of the same care-issues can be very helpful and at least you will know you are not alone.
Most-importantly, you’ll spend an evening with other folks who are dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s and dedicated to doing something about it.
Stay blessed my friends.
If you need more information, you can contact the Alzheimer’s Association via the internet at www.alz.org
You may also want to join us for our Alzheimer’s Exchange Support Group. We meet the fourth Tuesday of every month from 5:30-7:00 PM at Station Exchange. Feel free to contact me and get more info about the group.
Learn well my friends.