Sunday, August 9, 2009

Alzheimer's...a new word for our family.

It's not that we hadn't heard of it but it became much more personal yesterday when my dad was diagnosed with it. We had our suspicions but I know I hoped in vain that there was another reason for some of his symptoms. Tim's grandmother and great-grandmother had it so this something he and his family know all too well. So I thought I'd give you a little background that I found on one of the many websites out there about the disease. I am grateful we know what is wrong and that we can move forward helping him and my mom cope with the challenges that are coming as he worsens. On another note we are going to Park City tomorrow for a few days for a little mini-vacation before school starts so no more updates until later.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder named for German physician Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906. Scientists have learned a great deal about Alzheimer’s disease in the century since Dr. Alzheimer first drew attention to it. Today we know that Alzheimer’s:

* Is a progressive and fatal brain disease. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Today it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. For more information, see Warning Signs and Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

* Is the most common form of dementia, a general term for the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, mixed dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia. For more information about other causes of dementia, please see Related Dementias.

* Has no current cure. But treatments for symptoms, combined with the right services and support, can make life better for the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s. There is an accelerating worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, or prevent it from developing

As for my soap box, I doubt the proposed health care plan would cover helping my father since he would be considered a detriment to society. They would probably reason that he is going to die anyway...but aren't we all? So what is ethical? Okay, hasta luego!


Cathy said...

Rachelle- I'm glad your family has finally gotten some definitive answers. Knowledge is power and in this case, the more you know, the better! Did they give any indication as to what stage he's in? I know it can be hard to pin down, but that might help. Also, how is he taking the news? We will keep him and the rest of your family in our prayers. Enjoy your mini-vacation!

Steph said...

Oh Rachelle, you will all be in our prayers. Its hard watching our parents age isn't it? Luv ya!

andrea said...

I'm sorry, but I am also glad you have some answers, and can anticipate the road he is on, if that makes any sense?! Enjoy your time away to Park City! I hope you all have fun.

(I enjoyed your soap-box side note, it's is so true what you said. I sure hope this doesn't pass, and if it does, that none of the law makers become a "detriment to society" and get a taste of their own medicine.....or maybe I do!)

Shellie said...

I hope nothing will pass until we get something semi sensible worked out. For everyone's sake. Let's pray that everyone on both sides of the aisle will stay open minded and weigh the consequences of each part of the plan and keep tweaking it till it isn't a total bomb.

4boyzmdmom said...

I'm sorry your family is having to deal with this disease, Rachelle! I remember how hard it was with my grandma. I'm glad we know more about the disease now than we did then, though...and I hope your dad can get the very best care!

As for you soap box, your dad is just one of millions of examples of why we should fight that bill!

Emee said...

Thanks everyone! Cathy you are right knowledge is power! I think he is in the 'mild' stage so far. I feel like this challenge will be a blessing for our family, in fact I felt impressed that this will be particularly good for MY kids. Heavenly Father knows best and I do trust Him.