World Alzheimer’s Day
Thursday 18th September
September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day – a day on which people from all over the world come together to help raise awareness of Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that currently affects 500,000 people in the UK alone. As the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects around one in every six people over the age of 80.
How can you spot signs of Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that can start very slowly, so it can be difficult to spot. Many people tend to put things like forgetfulness and confusion down to old age, but it’s important to recognise Alzheimer’s as soon as possible for the best possible outcome.
The following symptoms can all be signs of Alzheimer’s:
- Being confused and forgetting things like events, appointments, names and places
- A change in mood and misplaced feelings of anger, mistrust and suspiciousness
- Difficulty in carrying out day-to-day activities such as using a phone, or remembering the route to the shops
- A decreased confidence and nervousness around things that would normally not affect someone
What should you do if you think that you or someone else has Alzheimer’s?
If you’ve noticed the above symptoms in someone close to you and it’s out of character for the individual in question, encourage the person you care about to make an appointment with their GP. You may even want to suggest going with them for support. Alzheimer’s has a stigma attached to it that can mean people may be reluctant to seek help, but it’s very important to establish the cause of these symptoms as early as possible.
It can be incredibly difficult to see someone you care about affected by Alzheimer’s, so it is important to remember to be patient with a sufferer. It can be a very scary experience for the person who is suffering from the disease, and support of family and friends is invaluable.
What treatment is available?
Although there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are several options available that can slow its progression and make life easier for the individual suffering from the disease.
After diagnosis a healthcare plan can be drawn up with the help of health and social care professionals. This provides a chance to identify what kind of health and social support may be needed.
There are also several medications that can help improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, including donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine. Deciding which one is best suited to the patient will depend on the severity of the disease and how it is progressing.
Whilst it is upsetting to see someone close to you suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to try and stay positive to help support them. By getting a plan of action in place as soon as possible, the sufferer can have good quality of life, which in turn can help family and friends to cope better.