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It may hit you and your siblings when you visit Mom this Mother’s Day. She’s not as sharp as she used to be – very forgetful and confused. Is it just old age or Alzheimer’s? You suddenly feel panicked and scared…but you’re not alone.
Half of all Americans know someone with Alzheimer’s, the deadly disease that affects five million of us – more women than men. Yet in a recent Senior Helpers National Alzheimer’s Quiz taken by more than 1,000 Americans, 67% or 2⁄3 failed (they got fewer than 60% of the questions correct.)
That’s why Senior Helpers, one of our nation’s largest providers of in–home senior care, has launched Senior Gems, a free and revolutionary Alzheimer’s education program that assigns each stage of the disease to a gem, like a diamond or ruby, and gives step–by–step instruction so people can navigate every mood and movement of a loved one who is coping with the disease.
“We have a crisis in America because Alzheimer’s is a deadly epidemic yet this quiz shows many people still don’t know enough about the disease or how to best communicate with a loved one who has it. As our population grows older and lives longer, families will need survival skills to cope through the various stages of the disease and manage the stressful toll it takes on everyone,”says Peter Ross, CEO and founder of Senior Helpers, one of our nation’s largest in–home senior care companies and co– creator of the Senior Gems program.
“We launched Senior Gems to give caregivers and family members a hands–on guide for education and survival.”
Pam’s Mother’s Day Heartbreak
Pam Huntoon from Twin Cities, Minn. says she didn’t know much about Alzheimer’s disease until her 85–year–old mother was diagnosed. “You suddenly do a ton of research but that doesn’t teach you how to handle the person in real life situations,” she said. “Mom used to be witty and sharp with a great sense of humor. Now she has hallucinations and she’s very confused. It’s a struggle.”
Pam watched the Senior Gems DVD and hired a Senior Helper’s caregiver trained in Gems to help with her mom five days a week. “It has been such a blessing to have this help. I’ve learned it’s not Mom’s fault that she acts this way, that she can’t help herself. I can’t argue or prove my point. Gems has taught me to be patient and kind and that has been a lifesaver as we guide Mom through this final stage of her life.”
For more information, please visit www.senior helpers.com
Senior Helper’s Alzheimer’s Quiz
Choose one answer for each question and see how much you know about Alzheimer's.
1. Alzheimer’s only affects memory skills.
a) True, other parts of the brain are not damaged by Alzheimer’s
b) False, it affects memory and language skills
c) True, it spreads through the memory center, eventually keeping if from working at all
d) False, it affects memory, language, vision, sensation & motor skills, and decision making ability
2. Can you get Alzheimer’s if no one in your family has/had it?
a) Yes – Anyone can develop the disease.
b) No – Alzheimer’s is purely genetic.
c) No – a family member on your mother’s side must have had Alzheimer’s to put you at risk of developing it.
3. What’s the most common ‘early’ sign of Alzheimer’s disease?
a) Can’t remember NEW information
b) Can’t remember OLD information
c) Can’t remember ANY information
4. At what age is your working memory the sharpest and fastest it will ever be?
a) 10–14 years old
b) 2–10 years old
c) 30–35 years old
d) 14–18 years old
e) 35–45 years old
f) 26–30 years old
g) Late teens to early 20s
h) 45–50 years old
5. What is the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
a) Alzheimer’s is progressive (gets worse with time) but dementia is not
b) Dementia is not as serious as Alzheimer’s, it just affects memory
c) They are actually the same thing, just different names
d) Dementia is a general category and Alzheimer’s is a specific type of brain failure
e) Alzheimer’s is treatable, but dementia is not
6. Can you prevent Alzheimer’s?
a) Yes –You can prevent Alzheimer’s with a healthy diet.
b) Yes – You can prevent Alzheimer’s with brain exercises.
c) No – you cannot prevent Alzheimer’s.
7. Do people die from Alzheimer’s?
a) No – those with Alzheimer’s usually die from other causes.
b) Yes – Alzheimer’s is ultimately a fatal disease.
c) No – Alzheimer’s is memory–impairment disease, not life–threatening in almost all cases
8. These are all risk factors for Late Onset Alzheimer’s – which is the greatest known risk?
a) Brain injury
b) Increasing age
d) Heart attack or stroke
9. Alzheimer’s is a natural stage of aging.
a) True – All seniors eventually get Alzheimer’s
b) False – If you lead a healthy and active lifestyle, you won’t get Alzheimer’s.
c) False – Alzheimer’s is not a natural stage of aging.
10. At age 85, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is closest to:
11. Which of the following is NOT true about dementia?
a) It is terminal
b) It is progressive (gets worse with time)
c) There is no known cure
d) There are more than 80 causes, types, and forms
e) It always results in the person becoming angry and dangerous in the later stage
The Senior Helpers survey included 1,013 respondents: male and female, 40 years or older, with a living parent. Full survey data available upon request at SeniorHelpers.com.