Gilroy, CA : Alzheimer’s Disease Can Grab Hold Of Your Mind In Your 40′s: Let’s Find A Cure: View From A Private Duty Caregiver
Article by Richard Kuehn
Gilroy, CA : Alzheimer’s Disease Can Grab Hold Of Your Mind In Your 40′s: Let’s Find A Cure: View From A Private Duty Caregiver Serving, Carmel, Carmel Valley, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Gilroy, Gonzalez, Greenfield, Hollister, King City, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, San Juan Bautista, Seaside & Soledad CaliforniaWith Medicare, Medi-Cal and Private Insurance all looking to slash costs, some are questioning whether it is worth the financial cost of testing for a disease if there is no cure for it. But what about the human cost if someone has disturbing symptoms and a Doctor doesn’t want to test for a disease because there is no cure? This is a disturbing moral dilemma that I am sure will be more and more common as more baby boomers retire and the cost of medical care continues to soar. The Monterey Herald highlighted this issue on the front page of the health section on Thursday, with a focus on the tragic Alzhiemer’s disease. “I don’t remember if I had a bath,” Barbara Lehser, only 54 years old, told the paper. “It took me two hours to follow a recipe. I drove to my childhood homestead the other week instead of my own home. It’s really scary,” she said. Her Doctors and many others are arguing over whether to test her for Alzheimer’s disease. The debate was in high gear at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in Paris France last week, where research on new methods such as easier brain scans, an eye test and a blood test made it clear there will be more tools for Alzheimer’s diagnosis in the future. Current drugs only treat Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. They only work on half of the people they are prescribed to, and they only last for one year on average. Some argue against diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s victims. There is no data “to show that knowing makes any difference in outcomes. Until we do, this is going to be a tough sell,” Dr. Kenneth Rockwood of Dalhousie University told the paper. As regular readers of my blog know, I am an avid supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association, a great group of people who help the families of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They are also the largest private funder of Alzheimer’s research in the United States and have been involved in every major discovery over the past three decades. Having cared for my grandmother for more than five years before she passed away in January, I can tell you that there is nothing more terrifying than losing your mind and not knowing why. I completely disagree with Dr. Rockwood and anyone else who is in support of letting sleeping dogs lie. If someone is losing their memory, or in the case of Ms. Lehser, driving back to a childhood residence instead of going home, they want to know why. Although the research studies indicate that treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are only 50% successful and last only a year, on average, averages can be deceiving. We went through myriad medications for Nana, and have done the same for numerous Clients of Family inHome Caregiving with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some work, some don’t. Everyone has different body chemistry. But having even one day with a loved one who is disappearing before your eyes is better than nothing. I wouldn’t give up any of those lucid moments with my grandmother for any amount of money. I once worked as a temporary employee for an HMO and at their weekly staff meeting they were talking openly about how they wished a prematurely born baby would die. The ICU care was just killing their budget and their bonuses were going to suffer. I walked off of the job in disgust. We can not make life and death or quality of life decisions based on money, it is not moral. Ms. Lehser’s story is, thankfully, a rare one. Most people don’t get Alzheimer’s disease until they are in their senior years. However, it is not unheard of. Click here only if you are ready to read a tear jerker. This story is one of the saddest I have ever read on Alzheimer’s disease and I have written about it before on my blog. It tells the story of a woman who at the age of 82 takes care of three children Darío, 55, in socks and diapers, a former nurse, María Elsy, 61, who at the age of 48 started forgetting patients’ medications, and whose rages made her attack a sister who bathed her and is now a human shell, mute, and fed by nose tube, and Oderis, 50. He denies that his memory is failing but buys only one thing at a time at the store so he won’t forget what he came for. If he gets Alzheimer’s, he says, he will poison himself. The four live in a village in Columbia where early onset Alzheimer’s affects almost everyone. Their memories start failing in their 40′s, sometimes as early as 32, and the average resident has full-blow Alzheimer’s by the age of 47. Tragic as it is, the village is a great setting for a research study. Inbreeding and environment are two possible causes. Unfortunately the region is filled with drug traffickers and it’s been difficult to get a full-blown research project done. However, it does show two things. One: Alzheimer’s doesn’t affect everyone, and there are likely cause and effects that can be discovered by studying populations like this; and, Two: the concept that Alzheimer’s disease is an old person’s disease that nothing can be done about because it is a function of age is a false one. Last year, Family inHome Caregiving of Monterey was the biggest fundraising team for the annual event called Memory Walk, which has been renamed Walk to End Alzheimer’s this year. We have raised over $ 5,000 so far and are hoping to raise $ 20,000 by October. If you can afford to, please support our efforts by clicking here. As Mrs. Cuartas said, “To see your children like this … It’s horrible, horrible. I wouldn’t wish this on a rabid dog. It is the most terrifying illness on the face of the earth.” Let’s all do our part to make sure we find a cure for this dreadful disease. It cold happen to you, or someone you love dearly.
About Richard Kuehn & Family inHome Caregiving of Monterey:After more than a decade of caregiving, both in a professional environment and for a 97 year old family member I was dissatisfied with service from local caregiving agencies. I became convinced of the need for a service which provides very personal assistance to the elderly and founded Family inHome Caregiving serving the Monterey Peninsula. Please visit my blog where I talk about important senior issues at:http://www.familyinhomecaregiving.com/Blog
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LIVING with ALZHEIMERS & DEMENTIA WORKSHOP - YouTube
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