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Alzheimer’s Case Studies

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that by the year 2025, 7. 1 million people 65 and older will be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia and its devastating that there will be roughly 7. 1 million diagnosed with one specific form of dementia. With this skyrocketing increase will come the need for more intervention and prevention projects to help the number of individuals suffering from all forms of dementia. Even though there is an umbrella of different forms of dementia, dementia its self is a term used to describe a disease that is chronic, progressive, and terminal.

Most individuals who are suffering from dementia get diagnosed later in the disease. The quantities of individuals who are getting diagnosed early in the disease are slim to none, because the symptoms of dementia are often confused with signs of normal aging. What is sad is people who are late in the disease are individuals who are being put into nursing homes, because they require 24 hour care. These individuals typically cannot remember who they are, where they are from, and sadly who their loved ones are.

Generally speaking, they are the ones who make moaning sounds in nursing homes and who sit in a chair all day because they becoming stiff. They have lost all ability to remember, think, communicate, and take care of their most basic life needs. What is important for caregivers to know is it does not have to be this way. Early detection of dementia is essential as it provides a means to access appropriate agencies and support networks for the dementia suffer. It also allows for the prevention of behavior and psychology symptoms. This means the progression of the disease can be delayed with early detection and prevention.

A lot of individual’s caring for their elderly loved ones will ask how they can look for sings of dementia. Signs start in early stage dementia. Early stage is the earliest detection and there are a variety of signs that are often over looked, because again the signs are mistaken for normal aging. However, sings include memory loss, cognitive impairments, and behavior deterioration. A lot of the signs have to do with changes in the memory and this is due to the fact that dementia is damage to the brain, it literally is the brain dying, and shrinking away.

This damage creates the lack of ability of cells to communicate with each other. Therefore, individuals who have been diagnosed with dementia are going to be going through major changes as the brain dwindles away. However, it is important to note is that dementia is not just a memory problem, it impairs cognition and deteriorates behavior, but memory loss is where it all begins and is an early detection of dementia because it interferes with complex actives of daily living, basic activities like cooking, housekeeping, shopping, and even handling money (Steeman, 2006, American Psychiatric Association, 198).

If there are problem with completing tasks that are minute and repetitive, there is something wrong. And being that tasks, as such, are basic and tasks one spends a large portion of their week doing, a suffer will become frustrated, uncertain, and fearful (Hutchinson et al. 1997). It can even make the individual feel embarrassed and humiliated (Gillies, 2000). This embarrassment and humiliation can increase when an individual experiences more than just memory loss; it can deepen when cognitive impairments begin. Cognitive impairments can include many different things.

For instance, Jorn (1986) believes some of these impairments can include individuals experiencing difficulty with repetition of sentence, reading, and naming common objects, grammatical deterioration and deficits in tasks requiring synaptic and sematic knowledge, deterioration in ones ability to process information. Impairments in automatic processes and controlled processes, the ability to repeat questions decreased. The ability to find words to organize sentences becomes a problem. Tse and his researchers found similar findings in their research on three attention tasks (2010).

Tse and his researchers conducted a study to see whether or not individuals with dementia had more trouble with attention tasks than that of younger adults and healthy older adults. The three attention tasks that were looked at included Stroop, Simon, and switching tasks, all of which require full cognitive ability. The results of their study indicated that individuals who were clinically diagnosed with dementia overall had about twice as many errors when it take to each of these three attention tasks.

What is important about Tse study was even in the trials where the attention task at hand was repetitive, the individuals with dementia had a significantly higher error rate than that of the younger adults and even more so than healthy older adults. Researchers have also found that individuals with early stage dementia have signs of behavior deterioration. These include deterioration in basic self-care behaviors, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, continence, transfers, and feeding (Lawton & Brody, 1969).

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