Written by: Meghan O’Dea
There are some common misconceptions about Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that kills one in every 3 seniors who dies each year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
For example, it is possible to get it while young, although most cases do affect persons 60 or older. And everyone knows about the “senior moments”, but it also involves changes in sensitivity to light and depth perception.
Alzheimer’s patients can have good days and bad ones.
When a doctor diagnoses Alzheimer’s, the person living with it often feels a combination of relief to finally have answers, anger at what life has thrown at them, denial about change, fear and depression about what lies ahead, and a sense of isolation in which no one understands what they are going through.
The emotions can feel overwhelming for everyone involved, but it is important to remember that they are not alone. There are a number of support groups, information online (see below) and resources to preserve quality of life while making the necessary adjustments.
It is critical for someone in the early stages of the disease to make legal and financial plans with a person they can trust while they are still able to participate in making decisions to ensure that others know their wishes, and know what to do.
Changes in thinking may reduce one’s ability to make appropriate decisions about self-care and day-to-day needs as the disease progresses. Difficulty managing personal hygiene or household tasks can lead to unsafe living conditions. Someone in that situation needs to plan ahead for how they will address basic needs, including housing, meals and physical care.
One option available to people in Charlotte is Regency Retirement Village’s Heritage Memory Care Unit.
With monthly rent to Heritage, residents take care of several challenges created by Alzheimer’s. They live in spacious studio apartments with private bathrooms, an enclosed courtyard, and numerous amenities, yet it is also a secure unit with a 24-hour emergency response system monitored by on-site staff.
All utilities are paid. There are smoke detectors and a fire sprinkler system. Plus, daily housekeeping service, meals and snacks throughout the day, scheduled transportation to medical appointment and activities, and assistance with the activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, walking, grooming and medication management.
Additionally, Heritage is conveniently located off I-485 next to Carolina Medical Center at Pineville and close to physician's offices. Regency even has a beauty and barber shop.
Regency works hand-in-hand with the local Alzheimer’s Association to assist in continued education of our staff, hosting support groups for our families, and educating people in the Chattanooga area.
The association is organizing the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Charlotte on Sept. 27 at Symphony Park. The event raises money to help advance Alzheimer’s support, care and research. To donate and/or participate, visit http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2014/NC-WesternCarolina?fr_id=5251&pg=entry or volunteer with Jacob Wilkins at (765) 544-0631.
To learn more about Memory Care at Regency Senior Living, visit http://regencyretirement.net/charlotte-retirement-living-services/charlotte-memory-care-retirement-facility or call (704) 542-9449.
Alzheimer's Association: http://www.alz.org/
The Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers
Alzheimer's Reading Room: http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/
The New York Times "New Old Age" Blog: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/