What Everyone Ought to Know about Alzheimer’s

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*This post on Alzheimer’s is dedicated to one of my favorite musicians, Glen Campbell.

Of the 35 million people in the world with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Americans now account for nearly 5.5 million. If you’re not affected by this debilitating disease, be very grateful. 54% of Americans now are. That according to the Fisher Center For Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.

The aging of the baby boom generation is only going to increase the burden. According to the NCBI (the National Center for Biotechnology)  “someone in America, today, develops AD every 68 seconds. By 2050, there is expected to be one new case of AD every 33 seconds, or nearly a million new cases per year.”

It is my hope that by bringing a greater awareness of this issue, that people will:

  • be able to recognize the signs
  • be more compassionate and understanding of those with Alzheimer’s. It is true that we tend to ignore what does not effect us directly.
  • learn how they can help

Signs Of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease, simply shortened to Alzheimer’s, is named after German neuroligist Alois Alzheimer, and is now the most common form of dementia. It usually begins late middle age and is characterized by confusion, emotional instability, and lapses in memory. It is responsible for the progressive loss of mental ability.

Patti Davis relates,

My father started growing very quiet as Alzheimer’s started claiming more of him. The early stages of Alzheimer’s are the hardest because that person is aware that they’re losing awareness. And I think that’s why my father started growing more and more quiet.”

It’s terrible to recognize that someone you know no longer knows who they are because their sense of self is being eroded and consumed by Alzheimer’s.

Actor Kevin Whately says,

Dementia is often regarded as an embarrassing condition that should be hushed up and not spoken about. But I feel passionately that more needs to be done to raise awareness, which is why I became an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society.”

7 Stages Of Alzheimer’s

A circular conversation may be a clue that you’re dealing with someone with Alzheimer’s. The various stages of Alzheimer’s are marked by degrees of decline, and progression through these stages and their symptoms are sometimes difficult to diagnose because the stages overlap.

Dr. Barry Reisberg, M.D., a geriatric psychiatrist and clinical director of the New York University School of Medicine’s Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center, developed the system upon which this framework is established:

Stage 1: No impairment
Stage 2: Very mild decline
Stage 3: Mild decline
Stage 4: Moderate decline
Stage 5: Moderately severe decline
Stage 6: Severe decline
Stage 7: Very severe decline

To obtain an overview of each of these stages, click here.

Dr. Reisberg advocates the importance of memory check-ups.

Top 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s

According to the Fisher Center For Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, these are signs to watch out for:

  1. Memory Loss… such as difficulty remembering new things or forgetting names and appointments.
  2. Difficulty Performing Tasks… Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room is normal, but people with dementia find it difficult to perform tasks to complete everyday tasks or to remember steps involved in things, such as a recipe.
  3. Problems With Language… such as forgetting simple words, replacing words, or not knowing what they are trying to express.
  4. Disorientation as to Place and Time… not knowing where they are or how to get home.
  5. Poor or Decreased Judgement… such as overdressing on a warm day or giving large sums of money away to a telephone marketer.
  6. Problems With Abstract Thinking… May forget the purpose of numbers and how to use them, such as balancing a check book.
  7. Misplacing Things… It is normal that people misplace a wallet or keys temporarily, but placing things where they don’t belong, such as placing a watch in the freezer.
  8. Change In Mood or Behavior… watch for rapid mood swings from calm to sudden anger.
  9. Change In Personality… such as being confused, suspicious or fearful of a family member.
  10. Loss Of Initiative… such as sleeping or sitting for hours, not wanting to be involved.

Caring For Those With Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s caregivers are heroes! Those most deeply affected by Alzheimer’s are those tasked with the care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Leeza Gibbons says,

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is a situation that can utterly consume the lives and well-being of the people giving care, just as the disorder consumes its victims.


Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011.

Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011. 

Photo owned by Glen’s son, Travis Campbell. Used with permission. Thank you kindly Travis 🙂

In 2011, music legend Glen Campbell, The Rhinestone Cowboy, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. During his farewell tour, many of his appearances were benefit concerts, with proceeds going to Alzheimer’s research.

Despite this diagnosis, earlier this year, Glen testified (with wife Kim and daughter Ashley) at a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., in support of more Alzheimer’s research. He also recently released an album “See You There” containing a dozen songs.

His family continues to speak up about the devastating disease that has stolen his lyrics and memories. In the Fall 2013 edition of Health Monitor, Ashley shares some sage advice to those dealing with Alzheimer’s:

Make peace with role reversal… Show them the same respect you did before they had Alzheimer’s, without letting on that you’re babying them.

To read the rest of her advice and other useful health information, click here.

To see more on Glen Campbell’s story, you can get your free copy of Preserving Your Memory magazine by clicking here.

Is A Cure For Alzheimer’s Close?

Currently there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. It is responsible for degeneration and the eventual death of brain cells, which leads to the steady decline of intellectual and social skills, and, ultimately, premature death.

Given that, there may yet be hope on a number of fronts!

1. New methodologies are being developed to detect Alzheimer’s through the eye. See how here.

2. Recent studies on mice, conducted by the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), suggest that ashwaganda extract, also known as Indian Ginseng and Winter Cherry, may reverse memory loss and improve cognitive abilities in those with the disease.

Here are their findings:

Initially, mice with Alzheimer’s were unable to learn or retain what they learned, but after receiving ashwaganda for 20 days, this improved significantly. After 30 days, the behavior of the mice returned to normal.

Aside from also improving learning, memory, and reaction time as well as reducing brain-cell degeneration,ashwaganda extract is also credited with these magnificent health benefits:

  • balances blood sugar
  • combats the effects of stress
  • cuts cholesterol
  • has anti-inflammatory properties
  • provides immune system protection
  • reduces anxiety and depression without causing drowsiness

3. Memory Games! Who knows? It may be possible to lay down new neural pathways by this method alone. Neuroscience has yet to weigh in on this with a definite answer. All that is known so far is that the onset of Alzheimer’s may be delayed simply by playing crossword puzzles and other memory games.

Bright Focus offers a number of free memory improving games here.

Foods That Fight Alzheimer’s

Courtesy of Alzheimers.Net, here are a list of memory-boosting foods that fight Alzheimer’s:

How Can You Help?

You have a chance to be a hero too! If you know of someone with Alzheimer’s, do not ignore them. Treat them with compassion and respect.

A number of organizations that conduct research trying to find a cure for this terrible disease, also accept donations.

For example, the Alois Alzheimer Foundation accepts financial contributions through PayPal. If you are able, please make a generous donation by clicking here.

Have your Say…

Has this post given you a better understanding or a deeper awareness of Alzheimer’s?
Has this disease gripped your family or someone you love?
How are you coping (or how did you) with it? Please weigh in on this important topic here.

I value your input. Thank you so much!
Have a memorable Monday, friends!

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About Bill Butler
William A. Butler is a John C.Maxwell certified coach. He loves to add value to others and aspiring to be a great humanitarian, lives by four words: BE LOVE TO OTHERS. William often goes by "Bill" and is a poet, a songwriter and has an upcoming novel.

17 thoughts on “What Everyone Ought to Know about Alzheimer’s

  1. Hi Bill,
    Snigdha’s grand father had Alzheimer’s in his last years and we have seen him slide into darkness a little bit everyday. It was an awful experience and it just hurts so much to know that somebody so sharp and so active can become so vulnerable with a disease like this.

    Thank you for sharing in depth information about this painful disease which hurts those who are around the patient more than it does to the patient.

    Our health is really our responsibility and we better start to take care of ourselves before it’s too late. Thank you for that reminder through the story of Glen Campbell.
    Kumar Gauraw recently posted…How To Correctly Use And Manage Twitter Direct MessagesMy Profile

    • Hi Kumar,

      I’m glad to share this story for the betterment of everyone’s personal health.

      Yes, one of the aspects of this disease is the vulnerability. Without proper care of oneself,
      especially if there is a family history, you’re also a candidate. But with the disease, as you know, the caretakers become vulnerable because, not only is much of their time is consumed, they also get worn to a frazzle.

      A few years ago, Colleen began noticing that she was completely disoriented at work. Panic would set in, not knowing where she was or where she was expected to be next, the 4th of the top 10 signs. Sometimes she would listlessly head to work and not feel her feet moving. There may have been other factors at play. We don’t know, but we have invested in natural supplements such as CoQ10, inositol, ubiquinol, and phosphatidylserine that enhance her ability to remember, but at best, these things only work for a certain time. It’s also quite obvious when she doesn’t take them.

      Kind Regards,

  2. Adam Lamphere says:

    My grandmother suffered through this the last few years of her life. It was heart breaking to watch and very tough on our family. My uncle died of cancer just a few months before she did and she had fallen very ill and our family struggled for weeks on whether to tell her in fear that it would only make her health situation that much worse. We opted on not telling her because of the stage that she was in we thought she wouldn’t even understand what it was we were trying to get across to her anyways but it broke everyone’s heart and haunted us for a very long time having to deal with the decision we were forced to make.

    • Hi Adam,

      I empathize with what you went through. So sorry to hear of the suffering your grandmother endured, and no doubt, the emotional toll such an experience took on you and your family members. Even more so compounded by the loss of your uncle. Suffering is not only one of the most
      difficult things to cope with, it is also as difficult for some to talk about and try to make sense of it.

      Thanks for sharing your story. Others reading this that may face a similar situation may realize that they are not the first to go
      through what you did.

      Have a great week ahead. Stay strong!

  3. Hi Bill,

    This is a great share! I don’t think people are aware enough about Alzheimer’s. My husband and I took care of his mom and dad at home with hospice care. We learned a lot about this disease because we did have to deal with it and look for the signs.

    Now I have my mom living with me and she is 83 years young. I keep my eye out for the signs above.

    I am so happy you put in the proper foods to eat. I went through them all and that is exactly in our diets. I try to keep myself healthy enough to avoid this happening to me. I think it is one of my big fears… to have someone take care of me.

    Plus, now that mom is with us, she is on a wonderful diet, is now on the computer and reads a lot to keep her brain in tune. She also walks…with her walker for balance, but she sure does exercise.

    Thanks again,


    • Hi Donna,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences. I have enormous respect for the love, care and compassion of hospice
      workers. As I stated, most people do not consider an issue unless and until it affects them. But it does regardless.
      Without eating those healthy foods and taking care of ourselves with proper exercise, we could be next.
      So I know why you and everyone else who is smart wants to take care of them self.

      Wish your Mom well for me 🙂 It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years next month when my real Mom passed.

      In response to your gratitude, you’re most welcome.

      Kind Regards,

  4. Hi Mr. Bill
    Thank you for taking time to inform us on this no respecter of people disease.

    Even though Alzheimer’s is on the rise, you pointed out certain foods to eat. We need to become pro active in clean eating and using supplements/herbs to keep it at bay.

    Cell Food is excellent for the health of the cells.

    Thank you again

    • Hi Gladys,

      You’re very welcome. I appreciate you, and the time you’ve taken to share your thoughts.
      I was just reading that proper amounts of exercise can also reduce the early onset of Alzheimer’s
      by 50%. That’s significant. So proper nutrition, as well as proper exercise, which we should all be doing to
      be and stay healthy anyway, are excellent aids.


  5. Hey Bill,

    I’m truly blessed that no one in my immediate family has ever had Alzheimer’s. My sister-in-law’s Mom had it and passed away this past April. It was really hard to watch this very strong individual wither away and not remember who we are. She would just stare right through you and never respond. It was just so very sad to watch.

    I guess outside of her I really don’t know anyone personally who has had it myself. With my family it’s been heart disease and cancer so I’m more knowledgeable with those then Alzheimer’s. At least with those there are cures and treatments. I do hope they find something soon for Alzheimer’s. I did hear of experimental drugs that were reversing things so I have a feeling hopefully something will be on the horizon. I went to check out the site you linked to but it won’t come up so I’ll have to come back to that later. My sister-in-law is really scared that she’ll be on the receiving end of it in the future. Her mother was one of eleven children and six have already passed away from Alzheimer’s.

    Thank you for sharing this and it is a very important topic indeed.


    • Hi again Adrienne 🙂

      You’re welcome, and thank you for adding value with your comments. Upon deeper reflection, I remembered my grandmother, at the
      very end of her life, had dementia. Here was a lady that faithfully went to church every Sunday for over 50 years, without fail,
      wouldn’t ever think to say one bad word, but in the last three months, there was such a change in her personality, in that short
      time, she more than made up for those 50 years. But, we knew it wasn’t “her” talking … at least the woman we knew as her.
      It was the changes made by the disease.

      I also have concerns for my wife. In the top 10, she went through #4 big time! She’s doing well for right now, when she remembers
      to take her supplements. ALZ doesn’t run in her family, at least not that she knows about. But that’s also scary if you don’t know
      your family history.

      I hope for everyone’s sake that there is a cure, so, for now, awareness is key.

      Best Regards,

  6. Hi Bill,

    Actually I can relate to this article as I’ve experienced this disease with my mother. My mother had early onset and deteriorated in 6 years. She died when she was 67. Because she was so young, we missed a lot of stuff we could possibly have done to help, but it’s hard to diagnose and in addition when it’s early onset, you have a tendency to play off the issues that you see right in front of your eyes.

    I learned much about this dreaded disease and am truly afraid of it. My mom died 9 years ago when she deteriorated to the point that she was in a coma and would not come out of it.

    Anything that can be done for this disease will help. Much awareness is needed. Thank you for keeping people aware of this as it is a deal breaker…it’s scary…it’s hard on families and it’s just an awful disease.

    Barbara Charles recently posted…The Blogging Syndrome and Blogging to SuccessMy Profile

    • Hi Barbara,

      You’re very welcome! I appreciate you sharing your experiences with Alzheimer’s.
      I’m sorry for the dread you feel and what you went through.

      Hopefully they will make a breakthrough and you won’t need to concern yourself.
      I was reading an article online that in over 200 studies, people that get regular physical exercise
      reduce their risk of early onset Alzheimer’s by 54%.

      I think education is the key, and perhaps taking it to a larger forum like Ted [dot] com may be instructive.

      Kindest Regards,

  7. Hi Bill,

    Thank you for sharing this. My mother is at the last stage of Alzheimer and she started showing signs in 2006. It’s so subtle that at first we don’t really pay much mind to it and also there is some denial involved as well. We just couldn’t believe it, and my mother herself refused to believe it when she was diagnosed in 2007. Even thought they never “called it Alzheimer” she got all the stages to a T.

    I hate this awful disease and I don’t wish it to my worse enemy. To me it’s the worst disease one can have. The WORST! I can’t talk about it too much.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Sylviane,

      I empathize with your dealings with Alzheimer’s. I’m sorry for what you’re going through.

      The subtlety of it also makes it dangerous. It was reading that they now suspect that brain plaque may exist 10-15
      years before the first signs ever show up. Hopefully the researchers will put an end to it, once and for all.

      In the meantime, be strong.

      Wishing you all the best!

  8. Hi Bill,

    Wonderful post, and one that touches my heart. You are doing an amazing service here.

    My mom was diagnosed with this disease a year and a half ago. Overall, doing OK although her memory goes in and out. She has good days and bad days.

    Yesterday she recalled everything during our phone call which felt great! Overall, she is eating all the things you should eat, including stuff like coconut oil which is like a miracle supplement/food for memory function.

    She also walks her beloved dog Jack for miles each day, usually 60 to 90 minutes, so her exercising is quite amazing for a lady in her 60’s. No doubt her nutrition and exercise is helping to slow down the effects.

    Great post, really appreciate it 🙂


    • Greetings Ryan,

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and for sharing your experiences with your Mom.
      I’m glad to hear that your Mom is doing everything within her power to slow the disease.
      I wish you and your family all the best. Thanks for taking time to visit. I look forward to
      hearing from you again.

      Kind Regards,

  9. […] imagine that’s how it must feel for Alzheimer’s patients who lose track of their days, whose measure of meaning is cut […]

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