As the CEO of a company that helps seniors find the care they need, I have a relentless passion for understanding and staying up to date with the latest developments in the world of senior care, and in particular Alzheimer’s.
60–80% of senior dementia involves Alzheimer’s. I believe that best way to launch my first Medium article is to get the latest and best insights directly from the source. I’ve had the chance of sitting down with domain experts to gather their thoughts on Alzheimer’s disease.
The following content is from a conversation with Christian Wells, President of Alzheimer’s Texas (@txalz), discussing thoughts surrounding Alzheimer’s Disease. We talked about the current stigmas associated with the disease and the incredible role education plays in bringing to light all of the information behind Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer's Texas* provides information, referrals, and a variety of support programs for those with Alzheimer's…
The Mission of Alzheimer’s Texas
The organization known as Alzheimer’s Texas is a nonprofit focused on raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease in and around Central Texas. This year, their theme is “What’s raised here, stays here” meaning, all the money that is raised in association with Alzheimer’s Texas, stays within Central Texas to help the mission of providing information, referrals, and a variety of support programs for those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and their family members, caregivers and professionals in this area.
Walking With Purpose
One of the main ways Alzheimer’s Texas raises funds and awareness is through their yearly Alzheimer’s Walks. This fall, they will host five separate walks around the Central Texas area to raise money to help battle this growing disease. These walks are the only walk fundraisers where 100% of the funds raised stays within Texas. Register to walk or donate here. Join the fight and walk with a purpose as those lost are remembered and hundreds come together to support the mission of Alzheimer’s Texas.
Dealing With Trials & Tribulations — Words of Advice
In her experience with Alzheimer’s Texas, Ms. Wells has gained wisdom and insight on a handful of ways to deal with the hardships that come with Alzheimer’s and memory loss issues. She notes that it is very common to “experience denial before, during, and after a diagnosis”. To that, Ms. Wells touches on the need for a period of adjustment to digest such startling information.
“It takes time before one can go from diagnosis to becoming a champion for the disease.”
Her words of advice on how to help guide one through this transition:
“Educate yourself! One of the greatest treatments is education. You shouldn’t be scared to go and talk to you doctor about memory deficits. There is life during and beyond Alzheimer’s.”
Stick it to Stigma — The More You Know
Unfortunately, there’s still a large stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss issues. Ms. Wells says,
“The stigma is still an issue. We try to be positive about messaging when it comes to memory issues”.
On top of positive messaging, another way to fight the stigma of memory issues is making sure people are armed with the right knowledge to cope with the disease and the disease process. This comes through education and information. The more you know upfront about what to expect, what your treatment options are, and what your care options are will all help to make the process easier.
“It’s a much more pleasant journey when you have those things addressed and you’re knowledgable and you understand what to expect.”
Remove Decision Making
Memory loss issues can make it hard, stressful, and exhausting for one to actively make decisions for themselves.
How do we combat this? You can dramatically improve the quality of life of someone struggling with memory loss by removing every-day decision making for them. Instead, simplify the amount of decisions they come across and reduce stress inducing stimulants. For example, rather than having a closet full of different wardrobe choices and colors and styles, make it so that the same clothing is the only available option. By doing this, you are removing stressful and often confusing decision making moments and increasing the quality of life.
As we concluded our discussion, Ms. Wells left us we a key piece of advice and wisdom.
“There is life during and beyond Alzheimer’s.”
She also added: “In my work, I firmly believe that with the proper care selection and correct knowledge, one can live and age happily and comfortably in their home.”
Alzheimer’s Texas provides amazing opportunities to learn about and discuss memory loss diseases.
The work we’re doing at The Helper Bees is complementary to this mission of Alzheimer’s Texas.
One of our core values is to always Bee Aware. We know that seniors’ lives, needs and levels of care can change quickly. The Helper bees believe in communication directly with seniors and families to see if needs and preferences change. Education is powerful, quality care is important, and the fight against Alzheimer’s disease is not over.