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Celebrate National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month With Hope And Courage

“Fear less; hope more. Eat less; chew more. Talk less; say more. Hate less; love more.”

This Swedish proverb was a favorite saying of Pauline Phillips, also known as Abigail Van Buren, the original writer of the famous Dear Abby advice column. Phillips’ beloved column appeared in over a thousand newspapers and had an audience of 110 million readers who found in Dear Abby an unparalleled wit, wisdom, and perhaps most important, compassion.

Phillips singlehandedly wrote the column from its inception in 1956 to 2000, when her daughter, Jeanne, began assisting her. In 2002, Jeanne took over the column after the Phillips family announced that Pauline had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Pauline Phillips died in January of 2013, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of insight, candor and spirit.

In honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month this November, Capital Senior Living would like to focus on the first part of Dear Abby’s favorite proverb: Fear less; hope more. We know more than most that Alzheimer’s can be a scary diagnosis, not only for people who have the disease but also for their friends and family. Fortunately, there are a number of FDA-approved prescription medications that can treat Alzheimer’s disease at any stage. And, we are proud that many of our Capital Senior Living communities provide Memory Care services, which offer an environment that is physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally stimulating for our residents with memory problems, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

With the holidays right around the corner, families will be spending more time with their senior loved ones. If you think that a family member might be at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, have no fear. Instead, schedule an appointment with his or her doctor if you notice any of the following signs over a prolonged period of time.

  1. Routine memory lapses: One of the most common first signs of Alzheimer’s disease is frequent memory problems. A person with Alzheimer’s might repeat himself, misplace items or forget conversations, people’s names or appointments.
  2. Disorientation: People with Alzheimer’s disease may forget where they are, what time of day it is or what their life circumstances are. They might get lost in once-familiar places or wander off without warning.
  3. Problems with words: Forgetting what people, places and things are called is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, a person with Alzheimer’s might have trouble expressing herself or participating in discussions.
  4. Problems with numbers: Doing calculations often becomes difficult for people with Alzheimer’s disease. A person with Alzheimer’s might have difficulty correctly balancing a checkbook or managing his or her finances.
  5. Problems with decision-making: Everyday concerns like deciding what to make for lunch or choosing an outfit may become more challenging for some people with Alzheimer’s disease.
  6. Changes in personality: Behavioral changes are also common first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. A person with Alzheimer’s might show signs of depression or anxiety or exhibit mood swings. He or she might also become more withdrawn or irritable.

Despite the fact that this disease can make many tasks more difficult than they once were, people with Alzheimer’s can still enjoy many of the pastimes they’ve always loved. Reading, listening to music and doing crafts remain enjoyable for many of our Memory Care residents. Many of our communities boast enclosed courtyards, too, so residents can get out and enjoy beautiful fall weather.

In addition to promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, the month of November is also National Family Caregivers Month. We would like to express our gratitude and admiration for the Americans who care for senior family members part time or full time. These unsung heroes are emblematic of the dedication, kind-heartedness and tirelessness we strive for every day at Capital Senior Living.

For additional information, the National Alzheimer’s Association offers a 24-hour helpline at   1-800-272-3900 as well as an e-newsletter that will keep you connected. There is hope!

Source: Mayo Clinic

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