JANUARY IS ALZHEIMER AWARENESS MONTH
Each January, the Alzheimer Society supports and leads Canada’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
During this month, we at the Society encourage organizations across Canada, and individuals like you, to learn more about dementia and its stark impact on Canadians.
And while Alzheimer’s Awareness Month may stop at the end of January, the experiences of people who live with dementia do not. As such, we ask you to take what you’ve learned during the month and continue to share it throughout the year.
By understanding what people living with dementia experience in their day-to-day-lives – their struggles, their successes and their hopes – together we can raise awareness of dementia throughout Canada.
SYMPTOMS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease, not just because it wreaks havoc on body, mind, and family, but because its ever evolving. Today’s symptoms may be gone and tomorrow’s usually brings a brand-new challenge! Communicating with a person with Alzheimer’s can be challenging and frustrating, common symptoms in Alzheimer ‘s includes.
- Difficulty learning new things and following conversation
- Difficulty concentrating or limited attention span
- Mood shifts including apathy and depression
- Mild co-ordination problem
These above symptoms are summarized in what is called five A’S of Alzheimer’s. Understanding the five A’S will not cure Alzheimer’s but it can help us relate with clients through love, patience and asking for help when needed.
This is characterized by difficulty in expressing and understanding language, symptoms include frequent pauses in speech, incorrect words substitution and mixing up letters and words.
- Face the client and speak slowly
- Use simple words and short sentences
- Give the client plenty of time to process your words and formulate a response
- Include non-verbal communication like hand gestures and facial cues to illustrate your meaning
This involves having trouble with body movement and completing physical tasks, it affects chewing, swallowing, and making mealtime difficult.
- Draw out plans to help your clients with movement and completing tasks
- Guide your client’s hands through activities as he/she struggles’
- Encourage your client to consider occupational therapy which addresses the activities of daily living (ADL)
This occurs when the client has difficulty or troubles processing information, this makes it difficult for them to follow direction and complete tasks.
- Make replying easier by avoiding open-ended questions.
This symptom of Alzheimer’s involves forgetting and inability to recognize faces due to poor perception of the brain to find and interpret data..
- Point to Object you are referencing when talking to client
- Use pictures to find objects, family, and friends during conversation.
- Recommend and refer clients to speech and occupational Therapist to ease agnosia.
This has to do with having difficulty in expressing words which is caused by a damage to the Brain Center in the left hemisphere. Clients may sometimes have the right word on the tip of their tongue but finds it difficult to respond appropriately during conversation.
- Be patient and give client enough time to finish the thoughts during conversation.
- Give suggestions if words continue to elude the client.