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MOORE ON MAUMELLE | Dementia and Alzheimer’s Are the Thieves of the Golden Years

Almost all of us know someone who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. I can think of two close relationships right now. A few weeks back I wrote about the devastation of cancer, so readers (all 12 of you) might grow weary of my somewhat depressing topics, but this one is important to me.

I had not really encountered the pain of these diseases until I had personally dealt with them in recent years.

Admit it. You’ve used Alzheimer’s as an excuse or in a joke for something you may have forgotten. I have. But we’d better thank God that we are not actually suffering from the disease.

I have a dear friend whose wife is barely 60 and is in an advanced stage of dementia. It has already started to affect her physically and emotionally. Her family is already preparing for in-home care and, soon after, a facility of some sort as she speeds toward losing recollection of a life just lived.

It is heartbreaking to watch this happen to a good friend. He is losing his life partner right before his eyes and she is losing her hope to live.

My other experience in dealing with this malady involves my wife and her mother. Although the mother is 90 years old, she is quickly losing her grasp on reality, forgetting her children and family from time to time and being transported 40 or 50 years into the past, and thinking her children should be coming home soon.

We have all heard of those afflicted with this condition wandering away and being found miles away from their homes. There are now facilities dedicated to those who must be kept under supervision and yes, locked doors. Maybe they are looking for their memories.

It is a cruel fate for sure. A thief.

Here are few facts from the Alzheimer’s Association:

• Over 5 million people have Alzheimer’s today

• Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia

• Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging

• Alzheimer’s worsens over time

• There is no cure but there are treatments for symptoms

10 Warning Signs of Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Visit www.alz.org for complete information and support groups.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure

4. Confusion with time or place

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

8. Decreased or poor judgment

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

10. Changes in mood and personality

If you see one or more of these symptoms, see your physician. There could be treatment that could help.

There is nothing easy about any form of dementia. It is a form of death sentence imposed while you are living. The death that occurs is the loss of the memories of your life, the name of your spouse, how old your kids are, what happened two years ago, etc. What could be worse?

If you know someone who is suffering from some form of dementia, enjoy their time and share your life with them while they are still cognizant of people, places and time.

Goings On Around Maumelle

What do you know? I’ve heard the old Kroger is going to be a commercial storage facility. We need another storage unit like we need another Mexican restaurant. The construction next to the Sonic is a new strip center of some sort, according to Planning Commission Chair John Todd but even he didn’t know what businesses were eying the prime retail spots. Anybody know who’s going in there? The new construction next to Wal-Mart is an Arvest Bank

Was glad to see that the church behind the Shell station is now Little Scholars School. It appears that the liquor store on Club Manor is making a move to a location near Starbucks. Maybe they could partner up on putting a little kick in our coffee!

Anybody hear of anything else coming our way or going away?

See you on the Boulevard.

Neal Moore owns a creative consulting firm, Neal Moore Creative. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years. Contact him at neal.moore@sbcglobal.net. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter, @kneelmore.

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