Donations: Alzheimer Research and Development

My father had Alzheimer for over 17 years and he passed away on August 17, 2016 at 05:04 am in his sleep.

My oldest sister and I rearrange our days while our little sister is having a hard time understanding why my father cannot remember her name. My sister and I meet our father's needs on a daily bases. I leave work at 4:00 pm and I get to the nursing home around 4:30 PM. We make sure he gets up cleaned, dressed and we feed him. We take him over to the nurses station so we know he received his evening and bedtime medication.

We check his oxygen status daily and we find it around 70 to 81 percent. My father is now on 2 LPM oxygen 24/7. My father has coded in front of me twice over the past six months and brought him back both times. We just lost our mother in March and my father is soon going home. We have watching his decline for 18 years now and it is so sad.

Alzheimer's disrupts critical metabolic processes that keep neurons healthy. These disruptions cause nerve cells in the brain to stop working, lose connections with other nerve cells, and finally die. The destruction and death of nerve cells causes the memory failure, personality changes and problems in carrying out daily activities.

Having Alzheimer's makes it more difficult to do everyday tasks, like paying bills or driving. It also makes it harder to talk with friends and family members. You may have trouble expressing your thoughts or understanding what people are saying.

Progressive levels of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's develops slowly, starting with slight memory problems. The disease has three stages — mild, moderate and severe — each with its own symptoms, which sometimes overlap.

People with Alzheimer's may experience common difficulties:

Stage 1. Mild Alzheimer's

Trouble remembering recent events or finding the right word or name

No desire to start new activities or projects

Losing or misplacing things

Asking repetitive questions

Difficulty making decisions

Taking longer to do routine chores or tasks

Difficulty learning and making new memories

Getting lost going to familiar places

Forgetting how to pay bills and other complex tasks

Becoming withdrawn, irritable or insensitive to others' feelings

Forgetting to eat, eating only one kind of food, or eating constantly

Stage 2. Moderate Alzheimer's

Wandering or being susceptible to falls

Trouble recognizing familiar people, such as family members

Continuously repeating stories, favorite words or statements

Trouble following written notes or completing tasks

Making up stories to fill gaps in memory

Becoming aggressive (for example, accusing a spouse of cheating or family members of stealing; behaving inappropriately, such as cursing, screaming or hitting)

Neglecting personal hygiene or forgetting manners

Problems sleeping, experiencing restlessness in late afternoon or evening, taking frequent naps, or awakening at night believing it's morning

Trouble using the toilet or shower

Inability to dress appropriately for the weather or occasion

Stage 3. Severe Alzheimer's

People in this stage need help in all parts of daily living, including eating, dressing and bathing. They can't recognize themselves or family members, and may be unable to speak. People with severe Alzheimer's may refuse to eat or have difficulty swallowing, and lose weight. They have seizures, frequent infections or falls, need help walking or standing, and sleep more.

Researchers don't fully understand what causes Alzheimer's. However, they believe several genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors, as well as family history and age, may affect a person's chances of developing the disease.

Although Alzheimer's usually begins after age 60, a rare form called "early-onset," affects people between the ages of 30 and 60. Early-onset Alzheimer's is inherited and caused by changes in certain genes. This is why we are supporting this disease.

The brain changes caused by Parkinson's disease begin in a region that plays a key role in movement. As Parkinson's brain changes gradually spread, they often begin to affect mental functions, including memory and the ability to pay attention, make sound judgments and plan the steps needed to complete a task.

The key brain changes linked to Parkinson's disease and Parkinson's disease dementia are abnormal microscopic deposits composed chiefly of alpha-synuclein, a protein that's found widely in the brain but whose normal function isn't yet known. The deposits are called "Lewy bodies".

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