You At Your Best

December 2017 • Senior Celebrations

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BY SARAH HANEY NWA DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE An estimated 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. Of that 5.5 million, an estimated 5.3 million are age 65 and older. Alzheimer's disease is one of the more prominent forms of dementia, but there are many additional types of dementia that also can cause both physical and cognitive alterations. Understanding the complexity of dementia can be beneficial to both dementia sufferers and their caregivers. According to the Alzheimer's Association, dementia is a general term used to define a decline in mental ability severe enough that it can interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is not a disease but DLB, is another dementia that laymen may mistake for Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimer's Association notes that people with DLB often have not only memory loss and cognitive problems common in Alzheimer's, but they also display initial or early symptoms such as sleep disturbances, well-formed visual h a l l u c i n a t i o n s , slowness, gait Maintaining an active lifestyle can improve mental health in seniors Coping as a family caregiver METRO CREATIVE SERVICES Individuals are born into the world requiring the care of their parents and other adult guardians to grow and thrive. These adult children, in turn, may end up providing care when their parents reach senior age or face an illness or disability. Becoming a family caregiver frequently is a tough choice to make. It requires patience and time, and can be emotionally and physically taxing. An estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12 months, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute. It's not uncommon for caregivers of any age to feel stressed and burned out by the demands of caregiving. The Mayo Clinic says people who experience caregiver stress can be vulnerable to changes in their own health. Some signs of caregiver stress include: • Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried • Feeling tired most of the time • Gaining or losing a lot of weight • Becoming easily irritated or angry • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy • Having frequent headaches, bodily pain or other physical problems Some caregivers even resort to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, which can lead to further issues. To avoid the potential pitfalls of caregiver stress, 10 | YOU AT YOUR BEST | NWADG.COM/YOUATYOURBEST DECEMBER - SENIOR CELEBRATIONS | SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2017

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