For Alzheimer’s patients, their best day typically is yesterday


To the Editor,

My aunt Patricia Jacobs Chavis passed on July 2, 2016. She was one of the more than 3 million Americans each year whose families suffer from Alzheimer’s. I am writing this today on behalf of the Godwin, Jacobs and Chavis families because Aunt Patricia would want the world to be informed about this disease in hopes of preserving as much patient quality time as possible.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s patients suffer from brain cell and connectors degenerating and dying. This process literally destroys memories and mental functions.

In America, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death. While most people suffering from Alzheimer’s are 65 years and older, up to 5 percent of patients may experience Alzheimer’s in their 40s and 50s.

Trouble in remembering newly learned info is the most common early symptom of Alezheimer’s. Generally individuals do not recognize their decreased memory function, but surrounding family and friends do.

Alzheimer’s patients live an average of eight years after symptoms become noticeable, but survival ranges from four to 20 years. While there is no current cure for Alzheimer’s, treatments today slow dementia and improve quality of life. There are genetic predispositions toward Alzheimer’s, but they are not emphatic.

It’s commonly said by caregivers caught in the selfish grip of Alzheimer’s that the patient’s best day was yesterday. Aunt Pat would want all families to have as many cherished yesterdays as possible along the progress of the darkening night that is Alzheimer’s. She would want everyone to be attuned to genetic and to behavioural symptoms. For more info, please consult http:m.alz.org.

Eric R. Locklear

Fayetteville

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