Wisdom from Books

<b>Wisdom from Books</b>
Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Is Forgetfulness a Sign of Old Age or Dementia?

As you continue to age, forgetfulness may become increasingly common.

Is your forgetfulness due to dementia or old age? This is the concern of many individuals. The greater the concern, the more the anxiety, and the worse the scenario may become. 

The signs of dementia are many; however, there is no single behavior that can be identified as the hallmark characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. Dementia symptoms are usually gradual and  progressive until they become problematic in the patient.

You may have good reasons for concern if you show the following: you cannot concentrate and focus (absence or gradual disappearance of memory cues in the brain); you cannot understand sounds and you become a passive listener and lose interest in music and social skills; you cannot enjoy good food or appreciate music and art (loss of senses); you cannot identify understand or identify problems; you cannot prioritize (inability to cope with changes); and you begin to have fewer activities and less mobility.

The above symptoms are NOT signs of old age, but problematic characteristics of dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Aging is "benign senile forgetfulness." The signs and symptoms of old age are quite different from those of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease. Old age symptoms, manifested in forgetfulness, are simple lapses in memory: forgetting the name of a person just met; not finding the right word or expression while communicating; taking more time to learn a new things; taking longer time to react or respond.

The above symptoms often worsen due to frustration and increased anxiety, giving the concern of Alzheimer's and dementia. These lapses may be a nuisance, but never a problem. The changes in behavior are continual and gradual, due to the decrease of brain function, but never problematic. This is the main difference between forgetfulness and dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Another important determinant factor is the normal cognitive function of the brain. It may take you longer to learn a new task, but you can learn it because your cognitive function remains unimpaired even if you continue to age. That’s why it is important to utilize your brain as much as possible. Remember, use it or lose it.

Sharpening your memory may even delay the onset of dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease. You might have heard of mnemonics and how it can improve your memory - yes, it is simple and easy to learn to make memorization a breeze.

Keep your brain healthy with a healthy brain diet, which is essentially a healthy diet for a healthy heart, because what is good for the heart is also good for the brain.

Mental health is longevity health. A healthy mind adds many more good years to your life.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Use Impaired Memory to Cope with Everyday Living

Impaired memory will cause problems in everyday living. An individual with impaired memory may or may not be aware of the impairment. Therefore, it is important that family members do everything possible to help that individual to cope with everyday problems.

Money management is always a problem. Money is equivalent to independence. An impaired individual may be reluctant to relinquish control over money matters. But if that individual has difficulty in balancing the checkbook or shows reckless spending, then family members may have to take control of money management. It should be noted that it is common for an individual with dementia to become overtly anxious and suspicious, and may even accuse others of stealing his or her money.

An individual in the first phase of dementia may still hold on to his or her job if the job is not too demanding. However, at some point, giving up the job becomes inevitable. Family members should be more considerate, because giving up one's job implies giving up one's identity and self-worth. In addition, there may be other emotional, psychological, and financial implications that require adjustments. Help that individual to adjust accordingly. In particular, pay attention to the mental state: mental depression is not an uncommon outcome when employment ceases. If there is a problem with finance, the Social Security Act provides financial assistance in the form of Supplemental Disability Income. An individual who has worked 20 out of the past 40 calendar quarters will be eligible, and the amount is based on the earnings at the time when employment ceases.

Some individuals with dementia are aware of their own limitations and will stop driving, while others are unwilling to give up driving. If an individual demonstrates good vision, including peripheral vision, good hearing, good coordination of eyes, hands, and feet, and quick reaction, driving may not be an immediate issue. However, getting lost easily, or driving too slowly may be a good indication that it is time to give up driving, whether that individual wants it or not.  Also, an angry or aggressive temperament often points to the unsuitability of driving.

It is important that when helping individuals with an impaired mind to deal with their everyday problems, we should discuss frankly with them our concerns, but without criticizing their behaviors; we should offer alternatives without unduly emphasizing their disability. Understanding their problems and showing care and compassion hold the key to success in helping the impaired mind to cope with everyday problems.

The Alzheimer's Reversing Breakthrough: A proven program to help overcome Alzheimer's disease safely and naturally. Get tips from the world's top doctors and Nobel Prize winners on how to eliminate harmful prescription drugs, and take back your life for good!

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau