Dementia 2: The Cruel Disease

We started a series a few days ago with the story of a mutual friend of the editors. (Scroll down to August 4.) Today we look at the Alzheimers’ organisation and what it hopes to achieve.

One type of dementia

By Roger Childs

The national organisation logo includes the words Forget me not. So vital.

It is important to realise that Alzheimers is just one of a number of types of dementia, but it is by far the most common.

However all of them result in cognitive impairment.

In the San Francisco – East Bay area there are many advertisements showing a range of people, with the message – The first dementia survivor is out there.

The New Zealand Alzheimers organisation has as its main aim: working towards a world without the affliction.

There is a range of other goals

  • developing a dementia-friendly New Zealand
  • encouraging good brain health
  • early recognition and assessment
  • ensuring that people with dementia live well
  • providing high quality services.

Recognition

Some memory loss is common, but not necessarily dementia. There can be mild cognitive impairment which may be temporary. This can happen when people are depressed, grieving, sick, jet lagged, tired or stressed. It often improves.

If someone can’t remember why they went to the fridge, that’s not dementia. If they pick up the milk container and don’t know what’s it’s for, that may well be the start.

Some early signs of the onset of the disease are when a person

  • is hard to understand
  • searching for someone
  • doesn’t know what to do or where to go
  • has difficulty using a car.

There are many warning signs and basically if a person has significant changes in their memory or thinking they should be assessed by a doctor. It is important that as soon as possible sufferers have a pathway.

(In the third article we will look in more detail at the symptoms and the actual causes.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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