By Sarah Ann Banis, LCSW
In 1983, President Ronald Raegan declared that November would be National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. More than 400,000 Texans are currently living with Alzheimer’s Disease (Alzheimer’s Association, 2021). Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia; it is the rapid degeneration of brain cells and has the ability to impact memory and one’s way of life. Alzheimer’s also decreases the ability to function independently, it causes altered thinking, increased memory loss, decreased ability to maintain social skills, and increased behavioral disturbances- to include confusion, altered mental status, and possible aggression.
Some symptoms of Alzheimer’s are often repeating oneself, forgetting things, confusion, not recognizing people such as family or friends, mood fluctuation. Those with Alzheimer’s might appear irritable at times due to the loss of independence and not being able to remember things.
Early signs of Alzheimer’s, provided by the American Alzheimer’s Association, can include (but are not limited to): memory loss that impacts daily life, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, trouble understanding visual images, new problems with words or speaking and writing, misplacing things and the inability to retrace steps, decreased or poor judgement, withdrawn behavior, and changes in mood (Alzheimer’s Association).
Where To Go for Help
Please reach out to your provider with questions, comments, or concerns you might have in regard to more information on Alzheimer’s. You can also reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association, James L West Center for Dementia Care, and Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. These organizations provide resources, support, and education for those battling Alzheimer’s and those caring for loved ones as well. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s but there are community resources out there to provide continued support.
While there is no known cure, therapy and medication management can help support those dealing with Alzheimer’s. Therapy and support groups are available for caregivers as well. If you or someone you know is struggling with Alzheimer’s or to support someone with Alzheimer’s don’t be scared to call and ask for help. We have therapists and psychiatrists who are here to help in addition to tele-health services for ease of care.