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Dayna Hokanson

English 2010

Mrs, Burr, Instructor

30 March 2017

The Effect That Alzheimers Has On Our Community

No matter what there is nothing you can do to prevent getting old. Unfortunately

you cannot slow down time. Your body is getting older and older by the minute

without a real destination. It is human nature to worry about what is going to happen

to yourself later on in life.The only thing that can be done is to prepare yourself for

what is ahead. Even though Alzheimers is a known disease, many do not see the

physical and emotional side. It has a tight grip on the memory of people throughout

our very own community. As a caregiver of several residents who suffer from the

horrible disease, Alzheimers, it is a thought that crosses my mind daily.

There is a growing crisis that we have here in our very own community

surrounding us everyday. Sydnee Valdiviezo states that at assisted living Beehive

Homes, more than half of the residents have a stage of Alzheimer, but each of them

progress at their own past. Residents live years with slowly progressive stages and

some will pass away from Alzheimer complications in a matter for months. It is a

silent disease that affects more than half of our elderly. What many people do not

know is that Alzheimers disease ranks as the 6th most common cause of death in

the US. This disease alone affects more people than breast and prostate cancer

combined. On top of that there are 5 million Americans today that suffer from some
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stage of Alzheimers. According to alzheimer association by the year 2050 the rate

of affected Americans will leap to 16 million people. (Alzheimer Association)

One in six women and one in eleven men around the United States develop this

disease sometime throughout their life. This means that women are almost twice as

likely to get Alzheimers. In Why Women Are More Likely To Have Alzheimers

Disease, Rachael Rettner states that women have a higher chance of running into

Alzheimers and that may be due to the fact that women live longer than men, but

after long studies Rettner found out that it is because of menopause. When women

are in menopause their mitochondria becomes less efficient at creating energy which

causes the brain to have less fuel. Therefore your brain is running off of low fuel and

putting it into stress which makes your brain weak. All of this put together proves that

women are more likely to run into Alzheimers.

From personal experience as a CNA I have had residents get upset with me

because they do not understand that I am trying to help them. All they know is that
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some young unknown person is trying to change their clothes and get them ready.

Which is something that they have been doing their whole life so they feel like they

can do it themselves. On occasion the resident knows their is something that they

need help with, but they cannot always remember what it is. Even when they are in

the middle of doing the task their Alzheimer loop makes them forget what they are

suppose to do next. Although the rank smell of their unchanged clothes and the

forgotten shower overpowers the room the residents will mask the smell and think

nothing needs to be done. Seeing the fear in their eyes as you try to get them

undressed and into new clothes in a feeling that I will never wish upon anyone.

The long-term physical and mental effect that Alzheimers has on not only the

patient, but also the emotional effect it has on the patient's family and loved ones

takes a toll on their relationship. According to Sydnee Valdiviezo, Once the disease

becomes more advanced the residents forget who their own family is. When the

progression gets far enough the patients will start to forget who their own wife is.

They start to think it is their mom or someone from an earlier stage of their life. After

building a life with your husband and spending all those year with them just to have it

ripped out of your hands and your loved ones memory by a disease. The thought of

that alone should trigger people to want to prevent this from happening in their life

and to raise awareness for research to break through hidden groups that have yet

been discovered.

Alzheimers disease changes the person that the patient once used to be. They

do not remember certain things and have a hard time following simple directions.
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There is no way to reverse the memory taken whether it is who their family members

are or that their sense of time is lost. Patients of Alzheimers disease will live in

different time zones making them live in different situations of their lives. From my

lab notes it has shown that the majority of the patients revert back to the most

traumatizing times of their life. One of the residents kept flipping back to when her

daughter was killed in a car accident and she lived through the crash. The rest of

her family tried to blame the car accident on her which only made the situation

worse. Therefore that is her go to spot every time she loses track of the time zone.

Can you imagine your own mother or father going through that? Only remembering

the worst part of their life and not the other good things that they accomplished

throughout the rest of their life. The Disease That Steals Who You Are in New York

Times Stanley states that one of the grandchildren said I dont like seeing grandma

anymore. Every time I see her, thats one more time I see her like this and one less

time that I see her the way she was. This statement really hits deep to think that it is

completely true and you can not blame the child for not wanting to see her

grandparent.

Everyone needs to remember that Alzheimer patients are still people. I have

seen CNAs act like residents arent worth treating as a person instead they treat

them like an assignment. It is hard to see through all of the Alzheimer effects, but the

paintings and things they accomplished are still apart of who they are. There is a

resident that I work with that is a beautiful painter who will remain anonymous. She
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gets lost in her own world of oil painting and for the hours that she is painting she

never misses or forgets a step of her masterpiece.

Have you ever wondered what you are doing to help your body age? Whether it

is your brain or your muscles you should always take steps to possibly help yourself

later down the road. It is never too late to start. The first step can be to look into

prevention of Alzheimers. There is no cure for Alzheimers disease. There is no way

to get back the memories that are already lost, but there are ways to slow the stages

down. Studies have shown that by walking just 10 minutes a day your chances of

getting Alzheimers decreases significantly. In that same study they found that

getting enough quality sleep and being able to manage your amount of stress may

decrease your chances as well. Having a good social engagement is proven to

make your brain stronger which obviously decreases your chance as well. (Mendolia
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pg. 8) After all your brain is a muscle and should be taken care of just as much or

more than your other muscles.

If you have someone that you love develop this disease do not be scared. There

are ways to prevent and slow down the Alzheimers. In Galantamine Treatment in

Outpatients with Mild Alzheimer's Disease by Richarz found that Galantamine was

well tolerated in real-life population taking medication for concomitant illnesses,

including cardiac, psychiatric, or pain medication. Long-term medical treatment

results in improved cognitive outcomes compared with an untreated population.

(Richarz pg 390) Therefor do not lose all hope for this disease. The patients that

develop Alzheimers can get treatment and have professionals take care of them to

make sure that they are well cared for and get everything that they need to have a

happy rest of their life. Always think of ways that you can better yourself by making

yourself have less of a chance to develop this disease. Please look into Alzheimers

disease and spread the growing problem that we have today to make a better

tomorrow.
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Works Cited

Anonymous. Interpretation of Squatch. 2009.Oil on canvas. Beehive Homes, Herriman.

Alz.org. Alzheimer Association, 2017. Web. 23 March 2017.

Lab Notes.

Mendiola-Precoma, J., et al. "Therapies for Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimers


Disease." Biomed Research International, vol. 2016, 28 July 2016, pp. 1-17.
EBSCOhost. Web. 15 March 2017.

Rachael, Rettner. :Why Women Are More Likely To Have Alzheimers Disease
Livescience (2012) Web. 23 March 2017.

Richarz, U., et al. "Galantamine Treatment in Outpatients with Mild Alzheimer's


Disease."
Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, vol. 129, no. 6, June 2014, pp. 382-392.
EBSCOhost. Web. 15 March 2017.

Stanley, Alessandra. The Disease That Steals Yourself. The New York Times, 7 May
2009. Web. 21 March 2017.

Valdiviezo, Sydnee. Personal interview. 26 March 2017.