If your mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, we really feel for you. You are on an incredibly difficult caregiver journey, but please remember that you are not alone - we are always with you. The Alzheimer's Association is a great source information and resources, but to start with here are some basic facts that you should know.
1. Alzheimer’s is a disease
Many people don’t realize that Alzheimer’s is very different from the normal mental slowing down that happens to seniors. When someone has Alzheimer’s their brains become severely damaged over time which causes things like memory loss, confusion, anger, and the inability to talk or even swallow on their own.
2. Alzheimer’s is fatal and cannot be cured
Unfortunately, nobody has discovered a cure for Alzheimer’s or has even found a way to slow it down. There are some drugs which help with some of the problems, but only for a short time. We are very hopeful that a cure will be discovered someday, but right now there is very little that can be done.
3. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time
The damage to a sufferer’s brain cannot be repaired, and gets worse over time, eventually causing death. The disease usually lasts about 4 to 8 years between when a patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and when they die, but some folks can survive 20 years while other folks pass more quickly.
4. Nobody knows the cause
There have been many ideas over the years about what what might cause Alzheimer’s, but right now it’s still a mystery. We do know that about 1 out of 9 seniors over 65 has Alzheimer’s, and that 2 out of every 3 Alzheimer’s patients are women.