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Alzheimer's In The Family Essay

1694 words - 7 pages

This paper was done for a Drugs and aging class. I was to pick a social issue which I have had some connection to and reflect on it. I was to include at least 3 references with my paper. My topic was on my experiences with an uncle who has Alzheimer's.Alzheimer's in the FamilyEveryone has to face the prospects of a number of health risks with increasing age. Changes in vision, hearing and sensitivity to touch, temperature and pain can all occur with age. Older individuals are also familiar with decreased flexibility and efficiency in physical activity, increased likelihood of heart attacks, cancer, and several other conditions. Many people in the older population will have to face more serious health risks as they continue to age such as thyroid abnormalities, arthritis, osteoporosis, immune system changes (Mehta et al., 1993), and Alzheimer disease. My paper focuses on Alzheimer disease because some of my family members have contracted it as they have continued to live beyond the age of 40 years.My Aunt Mary and Uncle Ralph have been married for over 40 years. They have lived for many years in White Rock BC Canada and have lived an affectionate, caring and supportive life with each other. I have always admired them and the way they communicated with each other. They are as different as 2 individuals can be but always managed to communicate their ideas and opinions to each other in a respectful, intelligent and almost harmonious manner. Eight years ago my uncle started to show signs of developing Alzheimer disease. My Uncle showed the first signs when he was about 55 years of age. He was slowing down and was unable to perform in his business the way he used to. He developed difficulties when biking, one of his favourite leisure activities. He then developed seizures, which, at first, were poorly controlled by medication that caused unexpectedly serious side effects. He now needs more or less continuous care, is disoriented, argumentative, and no longer seems to enjoy even watching television. His mood changes suddenly and his vision is becoming poor. He has hearing difficulties that make it hard to communicate with him. He now has dental, digestive, and elimination problems. For his wife, Uncle Ralph has become more than she can cope with. She feels the agonizing impact of her own diminishing stamina at this stage in her life. This story has been a serious problem within our family as we are very closely bound. I started thinking about it and talking to friends of mine the same age and many of them, surprisingly, have similar stories. I have watched my Aunt as well as my family go through an amazing amount of stress as they try to decide what type of care situation would be the best for my Uncle. I wanted to increase my understanding of the causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer disease as ultimately we are all faced with the potential risk of living with someone with Alzheimer disease or developing it ourselves.Alzheimer...

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