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Social Work With Dementia Patients Essay

2161 words - 9 pages

The human brain is extraordinary organ. It stores our memories, vision, hearing, speech, and capable of executing executive higher reasoning and functions setting us apart from animals. Today we know more about the human brain because of medical advances and the development of technology. These brain disorders have been studied for years and many others would classify dementia as a mental illness because it causes cognitive impairments. The following paragraphs will discuss what dementia is, what the types of dementia are, perspectives of patients with dementia as well as the perspective of a caregiver to a dementia patient.
The first case of dementia was discovered in 1906 by a German physiatrist Alois Alzheimer. It was first observed in a female patient and she was forty-one years old her name was Auguste D. Dr. Alzheimer observed a decline in the patient’s cognitive abilities. She lost her memory, she exhibited behavioral issues, and she suffered from hallucinations, lost the ability to comprehend language, disorientation and lost her speech. After Augusta’s passing Dr. Alzheimer preformed an autopsy that showed the classic triangles and knots we associate today with Alzheimer. Those triangles and knots are a proteins and plaque. The brain is self looked smaller and had distinct characteristics. Still with modern medicine the only way to diagnose a person with Alzheimer is after their death with an autopsy. (THE ALZHEIMER'S PROJECT, 2014).
While there is little difference between dementia and Alzheimer it is important to distinguish the two. Dementia is, “ a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life” (Alzheimer Association, 2014). While Alzheimer is, “is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks” (Alzheimer Association, 2014). Alzheimer is the most common type of dementia experienced in the United States.
Statistics show that 5 million people in America live with Alzheimer and 500,000 thousand die every year from illnesses related to Alzheimer. While many people can live with Alzheimer and live long lives it is the effects that debilitate and the decline in a person’s condition leads them to death. Overwhelmingly two thirds of people who have Alzheimer are female. The website Alzheimer association states that, “By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million” (Alzheimer Association, 2014). With these number multiplying rapidly this makes Alzheimer one of the fastest growing diseases in America.
Tools and assessments aide in diagnosing of Alzheimer since the only accurate way of diagnosing a patient with Alzheimer is by autopsy. The website WebMD recognizes that while Alzheimer is common it goes...

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