Physicians, Lawmakers, You and I Can Erase the Alzheimer’s Stigma

untitledFortunately, as Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia become more prevalent, doctors are increasing their knowledge and expertise in the areas of understanding and diagnosing this disease.

With this in mind, the person who is experiencing memory restraints, or the person advocating for him/her is given the task of making sure the correct information is relayed to the PCP.  In the USA, the Alzheimer’s Association has introduced its “Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters’ campaign.   Here are the ten signs in abbreviated form.  For elaboration on any one point, see www.alz.org/10signs.

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
  4. Confusion with time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.

 

It is vital, when visiting your doctor with memory health concerns, either for yourself or a loved one, the attending doctor is aware of the symptoms, when they began and how frequently they occur.  Also, past and current prescriptions should be listed, along with past and current physical/medical problems.  As a result of this visit, the doctor will prescribe next steps.  This proactive approach, for yourself, or another person, is essential in getting proper care, relevant information and the chance to share your thoughts and feelings in a meaningful manner.  EARLY DETECTION will aid in the development of a plan for all of us who deserve a quality life while living with dementia.

In addition to the individual’s and/or family member’s swift actions, our government, on the local, state and national level MUST provide the necessary funding to create substantial plans to embrace and treat the needs and wishes of a person with dementia.  These funds will aid in the continued and increased research in the areas of addressing the stigma, treating the disease, and finally, finding a cure for this heartbreaking disease.  It is imperative that each and every one of us demands the attention of the lawmakers to address the subject of dementia with an aggressive and rigorous enthusiasm.  ONLY then, will we be able to erase the stigma of being diagnosed with dementia, or having a loved one suffer this devastating disease.