Help & Hope for Families Facing Alzheimer’s or Dementia

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In honor of National Healthcare Day, I wanted to provide you with some resources for Alzheimer’s, a devastating and progressive neurologic brain disorder that often isolates the person with the disease and those who care for them. Clinical hallmarks of this form of dementia are impaired memory, judgment, decision making, orientation to physical surroundings, and language. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for about two-thirds of dementia cases.

Statistics reveal that nearly 5 million people are affected by Alzheimer’s. However, Angela Lunde (a health education outreach coordinator with Mayo Clinic) feels, in part, that’s a myth. “In truth, 5 million people may have the disease, but millions more are affected through the gradual loss of their spouse, partner, friend, confidant, and loved one.” You can participate in Angela’s blog here.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, or any type of Dementia, can be very difficult. It’s extremely important that you take good care of yourself. Emmy-winning television and radio personality Leeza Gibbons understands this more than most since her mother and grandmother both suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and Leeza was her mother’s caregiver. Leeza is committed to making a difference on the Alzheimer’s disease community. You can learn more about a Caregiver Support Program loaded with great tips, heartwarming stories, and a helpful guide here.

Oprah featured Maria Shriver for HBO’s The Alzheimer’s Project, a labor of love. “Our lives are made up of memories, and we can’t imagine what it must be like to go to your memory bank and find nothing there,” says Maria Shriver in the four-part series which debuted May 10, 2009, on HBO. The subject matter was very personal for Shriver, the executive producer of the program, since her father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed in 2003. The Alzheimer’s Project is a stunning and tender portrayal of the impact of the disease on the brain, and its ability to strain and strengthen family bonds. The incredibly sad topic is not without hope. Shriver offers reason to be optimistic about prevention. “Ample evidence shows that exercise, diet, and cholesterol-lowering drugs may guard against dementia.”

I hope a better understanding of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, information on caregiver support groups, and inspiration from those who truly understand, is helpful. Parrish Law recognizes how scary a dementia diagnosis can be for families. We’ll do all we can to answer any questions you might have and ease your mind. Consultations are always free, so don’t hesitate to celebrate National Healthcare Day by calling (408) 741-3500 now!

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