Ad Council + AARP
At age 92, Lulu Lancaster has lost most of her short-term memory.
Her children, Patty and Justin, have become her caregivers, and as Patty says, "We've had to kind of become her memory."
<p class="image-caption">GIF via Ad Council/YouTube.</p><h2>Caregiving for adults with Alzheimer's and other dementias is increasingly something that adults who have aging parents are faced with. </h2><p>Some of the numbers, from <a href="http://www.alz.org/facts/" target="_blank">the Alzheimer's Association</a>:</p><ul class="ee-ul"><li>5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease in 2015, most of them are 65 or older.</li><li>Almost 2/3 of Americans with Alzheimer's are women.</li><li>In 2014, friends and family of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias provided an estimated 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care, which is estimated to be worth $217.7 billion. <em>That's almost eight times the total revenue of McDonald's in 2013</em>.</li><li>About 40% of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers suffer from depression</li></ul><p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTUxMjA4Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NDQ5NjY1M30.riahxPrZdqA0Kq03RCnnrMFtWi7h7clHdqic8QPxSVA/img.jpg?width=980" id="40160" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="542d34b4557df52fb4433be561e90864" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"></p><h2>As a caregiver or concerned family member, what should you look for if you suspect Alzheimer's or other dementia?</h2><p>Alzheimer's actually starts in the brain before there are any signs, so detecting it usually happens in the early or moderate stages. You can find some additional screening questions by visiting <a href="http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_stages_of_alzheimers.asp" target="_blank">the Alzheimer's Association</a> and <a href="http://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-10-2010/health_discovery_family_and_friends_spot_early_signs_of_dementia_better_than_doctors.html" target="_blank">AARP</a>.</p><p>Here is some useful information on the various stages:<br></p><p><strong>Early-stage</strong> </p><ul class="ee-ul"><li>Not being able to come up with some words or names</li><li>Increasingly losing objects that are needed to function: keys, wallet, etc.</li><li>Trouble planning or organizing things, trouble thinking ahead</li><li>Forgetting the month or year</li></ul><p><strong>Moderate</strong></p><p>Typically the longest stage, it can last years. Some of the signs are:</p><ul class="ee-ul"><li>Confusing words, getting frustrated or angry, and refusing to perform routine tasks, such as bathing.</li><li>Withdrawing from social situations because they're overwhelming</li><li>Being unable to decide where they are or what day it is</li><li>Increased risk of wandering off or getting lost</li><li>Personality changes, like becoming suspicious, having delusions, becoming compulsive</li><li>Inability to recall their phone number or address</li></ul><p><strong>Late-stage (Severe)</strong></p><ul class="ee-ul"><li>Inability to react or respond to their environment</li><li>Losing the capability to carry on a conversation</li><li>Eventually, an inability to control even muscular movements, such as those required to walk, sit, swallow, etc.</li><li>At this stage, susceptibility to infection increases dramatically</li></ul><p>People with late-stage Alzheimer's can even get confused about what time of day it is, sleeping during the day and being awake at night.</p><h2>This is the stage that requires full-time care, 24/7, and that's why Patty and Justin became Lulu's caregivers. </h2><p>However, this stage is also when family members can no longer be the primary caregivers, especially if they have their own familial demands or a job that doesn't allow time off.</p><p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTUxMjA4OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjQ4NjY1Mn0.4fhgzPh4kY7c_Jq-GN6JLQVkHFdg4YArfm60cF9VmP4/img.jpg?width=980" id="489cb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2d69a4a427c26235aedf4d712cee7e05" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"></p><h2>It's also the time when caregiver burnout is a high risk; the emotional and physical toll can be too much. </h2><p>Frequently, this is the time when the loved one must be moved to full-time care, such as a nursing home or a facility for memory care or alzheimer's. </p><h2>For someone like Lulu, having her son and daughter around to help navigate this time in her life is priceless.</h2><p>The bond that she shares with her children is becoming ever more solid as they go through it with her. Listen to their story:</p><p><span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="81222bd238fdb8ff1cc3cb7e53f6c3df"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NtRxrvzbQ14?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span></p>
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