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Alzheimer's Disease

A brain disease that has become synonymous with forgetfulness is Alzheimer’s disease; a condition that affects the memory and is often found in people of 60 years of age or older. The disease has many devastating effects on the brain, rendering the patient quite helpless in caring for him or herself. Loved ones are also affected as relationships are often hard to maintain with an Alzheimer’s patient. We will look at these aspects more closely and also suggest how people should respond to this disease.

Effect on the brain

The memory is not the only aspect of the human body that is affected. One must remember that Alzheimer’s attacks the brain and therefore many other symptoms follow. The first signs of Alzheimer’s disease is irritability and frustration with people, or while doing tasks. This is usually followed by mild to severe aggressive behaviour which takes its toll on the person’s relationships. Perhaps the saddest aspect is eventual death because of bodily degradation due to diminished brain function.

Family life

Included in the list of victims of Alzheimer’s disease are the family and friends of the sufferer. The failure to remember people and relationships is a huge obstacle in maintaining any kind of meaningful bond with anyone. This usually results in eventual seclusion and loneliness, which actually seems to perpetuate the problem to an even severer degree.

How we should respond

We are likely to fall into one of the two victim categories mentioned above. If we are to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, a good strategy is to keep the mind busy with meaningful tasks as opposed to dormant ones. Sitting and watching television or taking part in mindless chatter are not stimulating activities for the brain. Reading, writing, learning a new language, and doing puzzles are all ways one can prevent the onset of this scary disease. The second category is being one of the family members or friends of an Alzheimer’s sufferer. It is important that we do not abandon such a person because we are offended by their forgetfulness. In order to show true love and compassion, we should stay by their side and try to bring some measure of joy to their lives.

Since Alzheimer’s is an incurable condition, we must look at other ways we can combat it. These include keeping our minds actively stimulated, and loving those who are in this condition already. Perhaps one day a cure will be found, but until then, it is up to us to be as humane as possible to those who are trapped by this disease.

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