Do you know the 7 A’s of Dementia? We feel the first “A” should be Awareness. Evening though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia, we are getting closer each day, learning more about improvements and prevention. These other “A’s” are just as important to the understanding and acceptance of the disease.
- Anosognosia – Ignorance of the presence of the disease. When a person is impaired, it might be hard for them to be aware of their illness. If this is the case, the person may deny taking their medications, which could cause further damage. Most cases of Anosognosia disappear over time, but can be treated with cognitive therapy and patience.
- Agnosia – Inability to recognize objects by using the senses. This causes the person to lose the ability to recognize objects, or comprehend what they mean. Typically, this affects the auditory processing in the persons brain. Patients may find relief from occupational therapy and speech therapy. Although there is not cure, organizational, verbal and compensatory strategies have help according to numerous clinical trials.
- Aphasia – Loss of ability to speak or understand spoken, written or sign language. With the inability to comprehend or formulate languages, this can cause a person’s speech to become significantly impaired. Severity can start with trouble finding words, to losing the ability to read and write. Most cases can improve with working with a speech-language pathologist to improve writing and specific exercises.
- Apraxia – Inability to perform purposeful movements. Think of combing your hair, but using the wrong end of the comb without thinking. The person has difficulty performing tasks or movements requested of them, and sometimes cannot explain why. Even though apraxia treatment is minimal, there is new evidence of improved treatment through rehabilitation therapy.
- Altered Perception – Misinterpretation of information from senses. The person feels like they are not in a normal state of mind. The neurons in our brain, respond to sensory input what we see, hear or feel. With having an altered perception, one might not be able to process or make aware of their mental state. Medications may be of some help along with support.
- Amnesia – Memory loss. Caused by brain disease, amnesia is defined as a temporary loss of memory, either as a whole or partial. Effecting mostly the medial temporal lobe, the brain has a hard time converting short-term memory into long-term memory. This can affect the daily lives and routines of patients. Social and emotional support is crucial to help improve the quality of life for amnesia sufferers.
- Apathy – Lack of interest; inability to begin activities. A person suffering from this state-of-mind, suffers from a lack of emotion, interest and concern. An individual will lack concerns about emotional, social, physical life and the world around. Even though everyone may feel a loss of interest or concern at some point in their life, this is short-term. Dementia patients can suffer through long-term effects which can have a deeper social and emotional issue. Although drug treatment is available for Dementia and Alzheimer patients, the best way to overcome these symptoms are to communicate with the person, listen to their concerns, and interact.