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Dealing with Alzheimer’s

Steve Valencic was at home when he got a call that his 81 year old father had gone missing.  His dad, John Valencic, was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  Valencic had left his home near Minneapolis to see his accountant, but never made it.  Police were immediatley called in to help, but there was no sign of him until 34 hours when a patrol officer found him driving along a highway going 25 mile per hour.  The officer got him to the hospital, where Steve Valencic was reunited with his dad.
 
“Oh it was such a relief,” he said.  “So many things could have happened to him during that period of time, we’re lucky to have him back.”
 
When Steve Valencic started asking his dad about what happened he couldn’t remember a thing.  “I asked him where he had been, and where he had slept and he didn’t know.”  Valencic had lost track of time, and couldn’t understand why he was in the hospital.
 
Doctors say it’s a common problem with Alzheimer’s patients.  The disease progresses differently in each patient, but is always associated with memory loss. 
 
Catherine Clairmont works for a company that specializes in Alzheimer’s care, she gives these three pieces of advice to families:
1.) Learn more about the disease
The Alzheimer’s Assocation is a great resource, but no matter who you talk with make sure you get your questions answered.  Families should learn about the symptoms, treatment options, and care facilities in their area.
 
2.) Make a plan
“It’s best to start planning early,” Clairmont said.  “As soon as the diagnosis happens it’s really important to start putting together a plan for future care.”
 
3.)Monitor safety
“Once a loved one is no longer safe by themselves, it’s time to get help from a care facility.”
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s:
1.) Memory Loss
According the Alzheimer’s Assocation, memory loss that disrupts a person’s daily life is the number one sign of Alzheimer’s.
2.) Challenges in problem solving
3.) Difficulty completing familiar tasks
4.) Confusion with time or place
5.) New problems with saying or writing specific words