Alzheimer’s can be scary for everyone involved

Alzheimer’s disease is also known as the long goodbye.

Alzheimer’s disease is also known as the long goodbye.

Sept. 21 was National Alzheimer’s Day and to raise awareness St. Mary’s Anglican Church and Maxine Jonson hosted a coffee break and information session about the disease.

“I come to learn as much as I can about it,” said Barbara Johnston, whose mother suffers from dementia.

“And to learn how to control emotions and anger,” added another woman, who wished to remain anonymous. Her spouse suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Many community members who attended the coffee break agreed accidental frustration often comes with caring for someone with the disease.

“It turns your life upside down. It’s a whole new world, a different relationship,” said the woman.

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are hard to diagnose and in some cases they can progress quickly. There are no known cures but medications can slow the disease’s progression, sometimes.

“It’s (medications) not for everybody … some of the side effects are horrendous,” said Johnston.

Dr. Dale Danyluk, from the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury, said some forms of medication are abandoned after being thoroughly researched because the side effects outweigh any benefits.

When patients come in complaining of memory problems, Danyluk will check for dementia and depression, both can affect memory. However, he says some patients have insight and can sense something wrong.

To make a diagnosis, Danyluk will first look at other medical factors such as infections. He’ll check body functions, organs and medical history, in case medication is needed.

Danyluk said in today’s society everything is rushed, including visits to the doctor. Early signs of Alzheimer’s are sometimes brushed off as a person having a bad day or a regular occurrence that comes with age.

When they come in, Danyluk says many people are embarrassed and scared. Being brushed away by a doctor re-enforces these feelings and patients will fade themselves away and not seek assistance, further delaying a diagnosis.

There is no known cause of Alzheimer’s and it’s not known if the disease is hereditary. It’s thought a younger onset of the disease may be associated with hereditary factors.

Danyluk says there may not be curing medications but there are still options when working with sufferers of the disease. “Instead of focusing on the problems, or the deficits, or the things they can’t do so well any more I try and focus on the strengths.”

Exercise, both mental and physical, that also have social factors is thought to help keep the brain healthier and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, said Danyluk.

However, not everyone is able to see Alzheimer’s with an encouraging attitude.

Johnston wishes more people would attend events such as the coffee break to understand the disease better. She says there are sufferers who almost never receive visitors because friends and family have troubles dealing with the reality of the disease.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re well educated, rich or poor, everybody can get it,” said Johnston.

Alberta has the highest rate of early onset Alzheimer’s in Canada, and it’s not known why. Danyluk said more money went to treating the disease than researching preventative measure because the factors of the disease are still unclear to medical professionals.

Just Posted

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Rimbey RCMP need help identifying vandals

Plus, GPS in stolen vehicle helps locate it and the suspect in Red Deer

Ponoka Chamber to host election forum

All-candidates forum for Lacombe-Ponoka set for March 28 at the Ponoka Legion

Ponoka County $3.6 million surplus used to prepare for future

An unexpected grant carryover along with operational savings in 2018 has provided… Continue reading

St. Michael’s Church commemoration held west of Bashaw

The celebration acknowledged the history of Hungarian settlers in the area

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

Most Read