Death and Dementia
What are you more afraid of ? Dementia or death?
Honestly, I had never considered answering this question prior to posing this question to you now.
My mom used to tell me that it must be easy to "lose your mind" because you don't have any idea that you have lost it! Nonnie's correct of course, yet those that have the onset of dementia may not feel the same way.
Let's explore the relationship between Death and Dementia.
Home Instead Senior Care is a wonderful caring organization for seniors with all kinds of information about Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease on their website. They even share a free App for Alzheimer's!
Dementia, as defined by Home Instead Senior Care, is characterized by "memory loss and cognitive decline that interferes with daily life, dementia progressively weakens a person's thought processing ability, ultimately causing drastic changes in mood, behavior and memory".
Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Sadly there is no cure and no survivors. According to the Alzheimer's Association, one in every three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.
Alzheimer's affects nearly six million people in the US and Canada today and expected to affect 13.5 million by 2050!
That is a big number! Here are some other Stats you may wish to read.
Feel free to read more at Alzheimer's Association. According to alz.org., deaths from Alzheimers increased 68% between 2000-2010.
Some warning signs listed on Home Instead's website include:
- memory loss disrupting daily life
- changes in planning or solving problems
- difficulty completing familiar tasks
- confusion with time or place
- trouble understanding visual images/spatial relationships
- new problems with speaking or writing words
- misplacing things and losing ability to retrace steps
- decreased or poor judgment
- withdrawal from work or social activities
- changes in mood and personality
It is suggested that if you see one or more of these signs in a loved one, you should talk to a medical professional immediately.
In surveying this list, I see glimmers of symptoms in myself -such as walking into a room to get something...stopping...and then trying to remember why the heck I went there in the first place. I can't imagine what real diagnosed symptoms must feel like to those who have them and those who have loved ones that struggle with dementia.
The point I am trying to make, is that before you get any of these warning signs, wouldn't it be wise to do some end of life planning? While you still have your wits about you?
Home Instead Senior Care has a wonderful monthly email with all kinds of information that is helpful to all of us as we age. So feel free to sign up for their newsletter. I always say "knowledge is power"! There are services available to help you and your loved ones when you need them.
The impact of dementia and Alzheimers is significant. Planning for end of life becomes paramount in the face of Alzheimers and other forms of dementia. Don't wait.
I'm more afraid of Alzheimer's when it comes to thinking about my family having to care for me..... and you?
Charlie Collier's story will help others facing Alzheimer's by tackling the conversations head on.
Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section below. Please also share this blog post with anyone you think might be interested in reading it, as well as becoming a new subscriber to www.BoosBucketList.com.
I appreciate your help in spreading the word about having the conversations and planning for the inevitable.