Alzheimer’s can be difficult to understand, especially in the early stages when caregivers or loved ones might not know what to expect from the disease or not recognize the signs.
There are several common myths surrounding Alzheimer’s and understand fact vs. fiction can help you better understand the disease and how to care for a loved one or family member.
Memory Loss Is Part Of The Aging Process
Everyone has moments where they can’t recall someone’s name or forget where they left their car keys. And for some people these instances may increase as they age.
But there is a difference between temporary and occasional forgetfulness and the severe memory loss that accompanies Alzheimer’s. Someone who has a “senior moment” from time to time isn’t automatically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Is Not Fatal
Unfortunately this is not the case. Alzheimer’s disease leads to cell death and tissue loss in the brain which ultimately affects memory, behavior, bodily functions or other systems. As most people living with Alzheimer’s are elderly and often experience other age-related health problems so many don’t attribute death strictly from Alzheimer’s.
Treatments Can Stop Alzheimer’s
Many people believe there are certain drugs, therapies or treatments than stop the disease from progressing. While there are medications that can help slow the progression for a time, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.
Research is showing that treatments and activities that stimulate the senses can improve behavior and mood for some people. Activities including art, singing or listening to music fight boredom, agitation and may help trigger past memories. Read more about the activities we employ at The Memory Center.
Aluminum and Artificial Sweetener Cause Alzheimer’s
This is a common belief, but to date, research has not shown a link between past use of aluminum pots or pans, use of aspartame or having silver fillings in teeth to be a contributing cause.
I Can Teach My Loved One Remember
Alzheimer’s can be particularly challenging for spouses or loved ones caring for a dear family member. Seeing the cognitive decline and memory loss can be difficult to accept. Many people believe if they remind their loved one often enough, get them to remember what they did yesterday or complete an every day task, that they will remember again tomorrow.
The truth is Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory. We encourage caregivers to talk to their loved ones about past memories but if someone can’t remember or recalls something differently don’t spend time arguing or telling them they are wrong. It can increase confusion and cause the person to become agitated.
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