I am doing a case study for Jenny Stanson, who is a 20-year-old college student who that is currently living with her grandmother. Lately, she has been noticing that her grandmother seems to be confused at times, and often forgets things she has told her. She also informed me that her grandmother is often rather short-tempered. From what jenny says, this does not seem to be her usual manner and happens only infrequently, but Jenny is concerned. She stated that someone told her that her grandmother might be suffering from early stage of Alzheimer’s disease.
Upon doing research on the disease I learned that Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps the most common form of dementia, although several others exist. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease of the brain. In the early stages, people experience some memory loss which progresses to marked memory loss, then to a decrease in thinking ability such as decision making. Later the disease leads to the loss in the ability to perform activities of daily living or recognize loved ones. The changes in the brain that often mirror the decline in thinking are the development of plaques and tangles in the brain. These changes may begin in areas of the brain associated with memory, but later spread more widely throughout the brain. The plaques and tangles can lead to a gradual loss of connections between brain cells and eventually cell death.
Based upon the information she shared with me, I’m placing her grandmother in the early stages of Alzheimer’s due to her age and the symptoms she’s currently presenting. Especially after learning that starting at age 65, the risk of developing the disease doubles every five years, and that by age 85 years and older, between 25 and 50 percent of people will exhibit signs of Alzheimer’s disease. I did inform Jenny though, that there are things she could do and practice and speak to her grandmother about as far as prolonging the onset of Alzheimer’s.
There are a number of studies that suggest behaviors that might lessen the risk of developing the disease. Among these are increasing physical activity, having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining social engagement, and participating in intellectually stimulating activities. I informed her that the approved treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are designed to enhance the communication between nerve cells. In some individuals, this will lessen the symptoms. However, these treatments will not prevent the progression of the disease.
When it comes to cultural issues pertaining to this issue, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect all racial and ethnic peoples. Communities of color and other historically underserved groups often encounter problems when accessing services or information about Alzheimer’s disease. Because of this, the local chapter is working to increase awareness of the disease and understanding about the obstacles to service for rural communities, ethnic groups, and communities of color. This though should not be a reason people do not step out on their own and seek help In conclusion, I informed Jenny that there is a lot of information on the Alzheimer’s disease on the internet, libraries, hospitals and other places one can go to seek treatment.
I told her that she and her grandmother are not alone. If she wants some really good information and help, she should turn to The Alzheimer’s Association, which is the most trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease. She can Call their 24/7 Helpline number at: 800.272.3900 or she can locate a chapter in her community, she can use their virtual library or even simply just go to the Alzheimer’s Navigator within the associations website to create customized action plans and connect with local support services.