Alzheimer's Disease Essay

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Alzheimer’s Disease

Imagine waking up one morning and you cannot remember where you are or your own child’s name. This could be a direct sign that you or a family member has Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, which means that it affects certain functions of the brain such as memory, logic, and everyday bodily functions. This disease was first described by a doctor named Alois Alzheimer in 1906. He discovered unusual growths of fibers in the brains of woman that had died from an unusual mental illness (National Institute, 1995).

Many people do not realize how severe this disease really is. These people also do not realize how much of a risk there is of developing the disease. Four million people
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A few years ago, I went to Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother’s house. My whole family knew that my great aunt had Alzheimer’s, but no one knew how bad it had gotten.

My aunt and I always had great conversations about life, but when I went to say “hello” to her, she did not even know my name. She could hardly remember anybody’s name, and we were all her closest family. What made things look even worse was half way through dinner she remembered my name, only to say, “Noah can you pass the mashed potatoes?” About two minutes later, she had once again forgotten my name.

Believe it or not this disease gets even worse. People with Alzheimer’s can eventually start forgetting to do their everyday tasks such as brushing their teeth, combing their hair, and a person can even forget when to go to the bathroom. After a while, a person may need 24 hour a day care. Many times a spouse or an offspring will take the job of a patient’s caretaker.

The job of the caregiver is a very tolling one. This person needs to totally devote him of her self to the job. Shenk (2001 p. 15) interviewed a caregiver, who stated, “She needs to be watched every second, as she wants to go home and has attempted to walk there many times. Of course ‘home’ is always in a different place, depending on where her memory of her

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