Perhaps you have noticed that your mother is getting confused about the days of the week. Or maybe she put a pot of beans on the stove and then forgot all about them. Your mother may be exhibiting early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, which leaves you wondering where to go for help.
September is World Alzheimer's Month. Worldwide, 35 million people and their families are affected by dementia and 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer's disease and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
Typical signs of the disease are a loss of memory as well as behavior and personality changes that can lead to agitation and even aggression toward the caregiver. As the disease advances, the needs of the person living with Alzheimer’s will change. A person with last stage Alzheimer’s usually has difficulty eating and swallowing, needs assistance with walking and personal care, and loses the ability to communicate with words.
Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center offers a 16-bed Geropsychiatric Unit – one of only a few available in this area – which is specifically designed to help older adults cope with changes they may be encountering. The program is short-term and emphasizes dignity and respect for each individual.
For information about Behavioral Health Services at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, call (859) 239-4000.
Ephraim McDowell Health encourages the community to participate in wear Purple Day on Sept. 21 to raise awareness for the disease. Other scheduled events include:
*a display and information regarding Alzheimer’s in the lobby of Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center throughout the month.
*a family caregiver training on Sept. 28 at the Boyle County Extension Office from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register, call (800) 272-3900 or email email@example.com. There is a $10 registration and includes a light breakfast and lunch.
*an Alzheimer’s walk in Lexington at Fifth Third Pavilion on Sept. 30 with registration at 1 p.m. and the walk starting at 2 p.m.
*a Race to Remember (5K run/walk) in Danville at Millennium Park on Oct. 20 at 8 a.m. For more information, call Krista DeWolfe at (859) 583-5934 or Angela Todd at (859) 333-8498.
For additional information on Alzheimer’s disease, visit www.alz.org.