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Science and Alzheimer’s

Many of you do not know this, but I take care of my grandmother, 86, and she is rendered to the point of near complete incapacitation. A woman who was once fun and vibrant, loving and generous in all she did is now reduced to the mental ability of a delusional psych ward patient and sometimes infantile blankness. It is sad to see and wearing, very wearing on a sane person’s nerves in the constant care of her. It requires patience beyond understanding and remembrance of all the love she ever gave to keep you from losing it yourself at times. There are some I have held conversation with that think I am blessed to do this and should be happy to be in the position of care for her. Yet, at times I have loathed the care of her, and did not feel guilty. It was during those times of cleaning up dirty diapers and feces she wiped on the walls, puddles of diarreah and urine, I realized how disgusting a job it truly was and felt for nursing home caretakers. It was during the times of physically blocking her punches and spitting, her screams of protest to get her up out of a bed or change her, that I became upset that there was not more help for me in this….more help for her.
I began to question how and why on it all and wished there were new technological advancements that would allow for better handling of alzheimer’s patients, or cure them. I knew if my grandmother were in her right mind, she wouldn’t in a million years stand for herself to be this way. I also became scared that I might become like her in my old age and it made me nearly wish for a Dr. Kavorkian death, than go through the horror’s of losing my mind and my children having to do what I was doing. I do NOT wish that on them.
So, after all the daily tortures of dealing with my grandmother and her ailments, I must also deal with my mother. She has proved incapable of care for my grandmother without sneering and shows inability to be patient and kind. She acts as if my grandmother knows all the things she is doing wrong and is purposely acting this way to just cause her inconvenience. She yells at my grandmother to use her brain and quit acting like a baby. She yells and talks to her in such demeaning tones because it is an inconvenience, an illness that she does not understand. She does not want to deal with it. It is hard for her to cope with her mother being this way. There are some days my grandmother and she trade hateful comments…my grandmother not in her right mind and my mother out of hurt from my grandmother’s ill-mannered, tempramental words. Days and days go by like this and then my mother will cry about being so mean, profess her love of her mother and be extra nice, talking baby talk to my grandmother to coax her into getting up or moving, or eat, or let her change her. One week later, my mom is back to uttering disdainful, rude or mean statements at her because of the stress my grandmother’s care puts on her.
The life of caring for my grandmother is hard. It is also very sad because I have grown up being very close with my grandmother and loving the sunshine that came from within her. It is sad to see it has left her and she is now just a shell of some stranger I no longer know and who barely remembers us, let alone herself. There are so many similar stories out there. And is there any relief for the patients and their families in the future?
What has science and medicine found to combat alzheimer’s?
Here is a journal writing on new breakthroughs on treating alheimer’s patients.

Do you see any hope?

Alzheimer’s Disease
November 1, 2010

Nearly 100 New Medicines in Alzheimer’s

New treatments needed to avert “national crisis”

In 2011, the first American Baby Boomers will turn age 65. Members of the demographic bulge that transformed American politics and culture are expected to usher in yet another momentous change — a huge increase in the number of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Although Alzheimer’s is not a natural condition of aging, the vast majority of patients diagnosed with the disease are ages 65 and over. As the senior population in the United States more than doubles between now and 2050, to about 88.5 million, the number of Alzheimer’s patients will more than double as well unless new treatments to prevent, arrest or cure the disease are found.

If no medical progress is made, Alzheimer’s disease could affect 13.5 million Americans at a cost of over $1 trillion by 2050, according to an estimate by the Alzheimer’s Association. (View the chart Avoiding Future Costs: Need for New Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease)

Hope lies with new treatments. Today, America’s biopharmaceutical companies are researching 98 medicines for dementia, mostly Alzheimer’s, according to a report released by PhRMA. All 98 are either in clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The work indicates a major commitment to Alzheimer’s, given that each new medicine costs, on average, more than $1 billion to research and develop. Click here to read about selected medicines in development for infectious diseases.

Even modest progress can drastically change the trajectory of this disease, which some warn is like a “tsunami” headed our way. For example, a breakthrough that delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by just five years would mean a significant drop in the number of Alzheimer’s patients. Most importantly, such a breakthrough would reduce an untold amount of suffering for patients and their families.

Researchers say we can stop Alzheimer’s by 2020, but only if we invest public and private resources to find a cure. With continued dedication, we hope to make a difference for every person at risk of suffering from this terrible, debilitating disease.

New treatments needed to avert “national crisis”

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  1. December 6, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Kudos to you… for doing this. People don’t realize how hard it is to take care of someone who is elderly… and especially with Alzheimers. A friend of mine went through it… she ended up having to put her mother in care as it became too much for her. She herself already has physical disabilities so she couldn’t take it on alone. It’s very sad to see someone vanish. You know who they were and still love them, but in this state they are gone.. most of the time. You must have a great deal of patience hun… big hugs to you.
    T.

  2. January 2, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Thanks! And it wears on me, as you can tell, all the stress here and school and the 5 kids and my love life…..nothing is simple. All is chaos…and I am working figuring to harness life and not it me, but it has been taxing on my mental and physical staus as of late,…. with these new meds the shingles will be gone in a day or two, but the scars reamin….war wounds…LOL….but I am still coming out on the other side, so that has to count for something, I suppose.
    I am sorry for your friend, that she had to do that, but I understand very much. It just wont happen here. My mom is bound and determined to keep her here, even though she can’t stand taking care of her. It is a never ending circle…. this is some of what taxes my brain. I always wonder what is the best thing to do. Keep doing everything for my grandmother, so my mom does not have to deal with her, stay uot and let my mom handle it, even though she can be mean, or try and see if she should go to a home. But in the end, my mom has the final say.
    Trying to rearrange a a full time school schedule and house work and kids schedules and homework, have “self” time or out doing what I would likenot being able to take a job outside of this, is always revolved around my mom’s work schedule and and when I will be taking care of my grandmother, whom can’t be left alone in her severely lacking, mental capacity.
    tell your friend to never feel bad for having to put her in a home. She can’t take care of someone if she can’t take care of herself first. She did the right thing, even though it was hard.
    Love to you, T!
    🙂

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