Growing Old: Insight into Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
Older But Not Forgotten
My dad is in his 70's now. He is retired and enjoys playing with the grandkids. He is however, getting very forgetful and at times doesn't remember something that was said only minutes ago. I think he is starting to get either Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia. What is the difference?
According to the MayoClinic website: "Dementia isn't a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. Dementia indicates problems with at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and impaired judgment or language, and the inability to perform some daily activities such as paying bills or becoming lost while driving. Though memory loss generally occurs in dementia, memory loss alone doesn't mean you have dementia. There is a certain extent of memory loss that is a normal part of aging.
Many causes of dementia symptoms exist. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of a progressive dementia. Some causes of dementia may be reversible."
According to the MayoClinic website: "Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. It's the most common cause of dementia — a group of brain disorders that results in the loss of intellectual and social skills. These changes are severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life. In Alzheimer's disease, the brain cells themselves degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function.
Current Alzheimer's disease medications and management strategies may temporarily improve symptoms. This can sometimes help people with Alzheimer's disease maximize function and maintain independence. But because there's no cure for Alzheimer's disease, it's important to seek supportive services and tap into your support network as early as possible."
So, with those definitions in front of me, I know my dad had Dimentia based on his forgetfulness. For instance, he has diabetes and my mom has to remind him each and every mealtime that he needs to check his blood sugar. I also belive he has the beginnings of Alheimer's disease because he almost needs a caretaker now to ensure he completes simple daily tasks. My mom is in her final year at work and will retire soon, mostly due to the fact that my dad's memory is deteriorating. It's sad to see him begin this journey of slow memory loss. Sometimes when you ask him a question, he looks at you in a daze and I know he is really thinking hard, but it's just not there anymore.
I remember when he was a hard-working younger man full of life and energy and as sharp as a tack. His memory loss is my memory gain as I will now have to keep those fond memories in my thoughts and in my heart.
Part II: Growing Old In the Work Place
In our youth, starting our first job, we are vibrant and ready to tackle anything that comes our way. “Can you do get this done in an hour?” asks the boss. “Sure I can.” There’s a skip in your step and a song in your head, and a twinkle in your eye that no supervisor can deny. You are ready, vibrant and there to handle all obstacles in your way. Bring it on and watch me shine. Youth is a wonderful thing.
As the years pass, you mature and gain wisdom and find balance in your life. The hours spent working all that overtime as a youth are more precious to you as a mature adult. No wonder overtime is compensated at time and a half. Your time away from your family is priceless. As your priorities in life evolve and settle in, the bounce in your step subsides a bit and the warmth in your heart heats up with a longing for more time spent helping and nurturing. Your kids need you, your local community needs you and basically you need them. Your life is balanced and you’re ready to give back.
Unfortunately the corporate world doesn't want to hear about all this mushy stuff. “Do this now and in half the time it took you last month,” is a common slogan. Some older adult time clocks are out of sync with the high demands of the typical working world place of employment. “The economy is slowing, so we need you to speed up,” demands the boss. “We can easily pay a new, young go-getter half the price for twice the amount of work” squawks another corporate ladder superstar.
This is normal. Corporations need to maintain their competitive edge. However, corporate managers also need to realize that one of their biggest assets is their long term, dedicated employees who gave them the best years of their lives. Appreciate them for who they are and for who they have become in their maturing years. Don’t be so quick to kick them out just because they may not produce like they did when they were younger.
My poem is not an aim at the corporate world. It speaks for many older workers who feel like they are falling behind in the “rat race” of the work force. They at times are viewed by younger peers and management as people who are no longer needed due to their age. My mother is reaching retirement age and her supervisor asks her every year if she is interested in retiring. My mom simply replies, “I’ll retire when I’m ready.” Keep jumping little girl, you can do it.
Senior Brain Stimulating Board Games
Jump through the hoops little girl,
Little girl jump as high as you can.
I am waiting, I am watching.
Where on the ladder will you land.
Limber and quick in your youth,
Bounce high and skip faster.
Early to rise, up all hours.
Enjoy the part, you are the master.
Slow down and rest if you must.
Time whispers in your ear.
Stiff and slow and out you go,
Demands and deadlines are ever so near.
Jump through the hoops little girl,
Jump if you can.
Now you’re weak and you’re old.
Where will you land.