By in Health & Fitness

Alzheimers' - What Is It?

My first encounter with Alzheimer's Disease was when I was working in an Assisted Living Facility. The establishment had two wings, one for general population (those who had no medical issues) and the other side of the building was another wing for Alzheimer's.

Due to a shortage with Activities Assistant I volunteered for the day (I did get paid since I was an employee) since no one really wanted to work in that wing. I was nervous at first because I had the misconception, as like some people do, that they were violent and/ or had bouts of rage. To my utter surprise I found some to be loving and caring, while, of course, some showed signs of rage. These wonderful people have no idea what they are doing or saying.

Alzheimer's is a disease where your mind is doing in a different direction that you are. Meaning, you are loosing the function to eat, drink, think in normal terms and you loose your bodily functions. The entire process is slow and over time it deteriorates to you not being able to help yourself. You totally forget how to eat, how to do personal hygiene and the list goes on.

According to Alzheimer's Organization:

"The most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned information because Alzheimer's changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As Alzheimer's advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

if you have a loved one please understand that they have no control over what they do or say. I recall one woman who was as sweet as a child and always clapped and yelled with delight when she saw me. She would hold my hand all day and at times it made my daily chores more difficult but like I did with my children, I had her hold one to my shoulder sleeve or pant leg of my scrubs.

I stated in that unit for 5 years and each day I learned something new. In fact, there was another woman who spoke English and German but hadn't spoken a work in months. It was Christmas time so I printed out some songs and started my sing-along with them. From my childhood I recalled one German song called O Tannenbaum - translation O Christmas Tree. This woman who hadn't uttered a word in months started to sing up a storm.

If you ever are looking for a volunteer position I would suggestion do so with an Alzheimer's Facility. The rewards are immense and you will be pleased that you may be able to help someone reconnect with that part of them they long have forgotten. I would go back to do volunteer work but since I babysit my granddaughter. Perhaps some day I can do it.

Image Credit » From Word Office Program

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Dawnwriter wrote on October 17, 2014, 1:31 PM

It may be rewarding but at the same time I am sure it is painful to see people so lost and helpless. May God have mercy upon them all.

Patricia wrote on October 17, 2014, 2:21 PM

Dawnwriter I am looking at if from a worker not as a family member. I truly understand how a family member feels but when you work with these wonder people the pain turns to delight in a way. Hard to explain. I thank you for your input.

Scorpie wrote on October 18, 2014, 8:43 AM

I have had to deal with this face to face. To watch someone's cheese slipping off the cracker is quite painful.

Patricia wrote on October 18, 2014, 10:21 AM

It is devastating for family and friend.

maramadalina wrote on October 19, 2014, 9:20 AM

It is a bad disease and also painful. It is sad to see people suffering from this condition.

Patricia wrote on October 19, 2014, 12:32 PM

Yes, it sure is. Families do not understand their loved ones no longer recognize them. Thanks for commenting.