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Alzheimer Society asks: ‘What would you have done differently?”‘

Almost two dozen participants walked around and around and around PECI last Saturday raising funds and awareness for the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward County’s 2012 Walk For Memories.
“The enthusiastic walkers converged on PECI for two hours to help raise funds to support the programs and services offered to families in the County living with Alzheimer’s disease and similar dementias,” said Linda Jackson, the society’s executive director.

The top team of Tricia Davies and David Shilton raised $1855 and second place was earned by Janet Lyons who turned in $640.  Third place this year went to a new walker, Hanne Barter, who raised $600.  At the end of the day, the event raised just over $4,300, up 14 per cent from last year’s walk.

Jackson sends CHEERS! and thank-yous to everybody in the community who supported the walk – including Picton Home Hardware (bottle lanyards), Pure County Bottled Water (custom bottled water) and Miss Lily’s Café (soup for the walkers’ lunch).  Prizes were donated by Canadian Tire, Goodfellow’s Meat, Penny’s Pantry, Prince Edward Fitness and Aquatic Centre, The Source and the clients of “At Your Service”.

Linda Jackson

“It was fun afternoon for all involved,” said Jackson. “And some walkers even went away with pledge forms to start collecting  for next year’s Walk for Memories.”

The Alzheimer Society of Canada  recently asked: “What would you have done differently?”
Here is the report:
Last year, the Alzheimer Society asked Canadians how long they waited before seeing a doctor when their family member had signs of dementia. Nearly half said they waited a year or more! Why? They believed the symptoms:
* Would go away
* Were the signs of “old age”
* Were episodic or not to be taken seriously
* Needed to get worse before seeing a doctor.
Three quarters wished they’d known earlier. An early diagnosis means:
* Medications to treat symptoms
* Time to put legal and financial affairs in order
* Keeping the person with dementia at home longer
* Involving the person with dementia in planning future care
* Understanding how to respond to the disease symptoms.

Be aware of the warning signs. If you’re concerned about dementia for yourself or someone you care about, talk to your family doctor or contact your Alzheimer Society.

10 warning signs

To help you know what warning signs to look for, the Alzheimer Society has developed the following list:
1. Memory loss that affects day-to-day function
It’s normal to occasionally forget appointments, colleagues’ names or a friend’s phone number and remember them later. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget things more often and not remember them later, especially things that have happened more recently.
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them at the end of a meal. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble with tasks that have been familiar to them all their lives, such as preparing a meal.
3. Problems with language
Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget simple words or substitute words, making her sentences difficult to understand.
4. Disorientation of time and place
It’s normal to forget the day of the week or your destination — for a moment. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing how they got there or how to get home.
5. Poor or decreased judgment
People may sometimes put off going to a doctor if they have an infection, but eventually seek medical attention. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may have decreased judgment, for example not recognizing a medical problem that needs attention or wearing heavy clothing on a hot day.
6. Problems with abstract thinking
From time to time, people may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, such as balancing a cheque book. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have significant difficulties with such tasks, for example not recognizing what the numbers in the cheque book mean.
7. Misplacing things
Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
8. Changes in mood and behaviour
Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease can exhibit varied mood swings — from calm to tears to anger — for no apparent reason.
9. Changes in personality
People’s personalities can change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can become confused, suspicious or withdrawn. Changes may also include apathy, fearfulness or acting out of character.
10. Loss of initiative
It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, and require cues and prompting to become involved.

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