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When Simple Forgetfulness Becomes More of a Warning Sign

April 30, 2019

AC_Alz_Image.jpgThose with significant memory loss may have a condition referred to as dementia. Dementia is not a disease but a group of symptoms that include memory loss, confusion, and loss or decrease in cognitive skills such as judgement, problem-solving, and decision-making. These symptoms must be consistent and severe enough to affect day-to-day functioning to be considered dementia. There are a number of different conditions and diseases that can cause dementia.  

Although frustrating, simple forgetfulness such as where we put our wallet, an item from a grocery list or the time agreed to meet a friend, is normal. But for some, memory loss can become more significant. It is more of a warning sign when a person’s memory loss begins to interfere with everyday functioning. For example: 

  • Difficulty managing medications
  • Significant weight loss due to missed meals
  • Inability to organize finances
  • Disorganized household, and uncleanliness
  • Failure to meet deadlines at work

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease which is often described in stages – early, middle, and late. Currently there is no cure, but there are medications available which work to slow the disease process and assist individuals in maintaining their level of functioning for longer periods of time.

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and this number is on the rise as those in the baby boomer generation continue to enter the age of greatest risk for Alzheimer’s. This number is creating a public health crisis and the volunteer driven ACT on Alzheimer’s is not taking it lightly. Minnesota born ACT on Alzheimer’s is a statewide collaboration that works each day to help prepare our state for the impacts of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Launched in 2009 with a mission to better support individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families, the ACT on Alzheimer’s works with health care providers, community members, government officials, caregivers, those with Alzheimer’s, and local businesses to create a support system.

One initiative to help create a dementia friendly community is the Dementia Friends Challenge. Dementia Friends is described as a global movement working to challenge the way people feel about dementia. Helping community members understand exactly what dementia is and how it affects people, we all can make a difference in the lives of those touched by this disease. 

To help support and educate those living with dementia and their caregivers the Hopkins ACT on Alzheimer’s team is proudly sponsoring several dementia related community events in May in recognition of national Senior Awareness Month. Throughout the month, residents in Hopkins and surrounding cities are invited to attend a number of events, all of which are FREE and open to the public. 

  • Forgetfulness, Is it normal or a warning sign– May 5th
  • Driving and Dementia– May 7th
  • Open Circle Support Group – May 7th& May 21st
  • Hopkins ACT Overview – May 9th
  • Memory Café – May 14th
  • Hopkins Fire and Police Supporting ACT – May 16th
  • The Gift; how caring for someone with Alzheimer’s brought unexpected blessings – Author Rick Naymark– May 23rd
  • Emerald Crest Meal and Meeting Support Group – May 23rd 
  • Dementia Friends Session – May 28th
  • The Glenn Hopkins Community Caregiver Support Group – May 28th

For complete list of 2019 May events including dates, times and locations go to www.augustanacare.org/dementiafriendly.

The ACT on Alzheimer’s initiative is powered by theHopkins ACT on Alzheimer’s Action Team which includes members from; the Hopkins Library; City of Hopkins, Hopkins Fire and Police, Cassia Services and Communities; Chapel View Health Care Center; Emerald Crest of Minnetonka and Cassia Open Circle, Volunteers of America – Elder Homestead of Minnetonka, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Hopkins Elks, and The Glenn.For more information, please contact Laura Herman at 952-697-5373 or Laura.Herman@cassialife.org.  

Cassia is a new partnership between Augustana Care and Elim Care. At Augustana Care and Elim Care, we were each on our own uncompromising quest to foster fullness of life for older adults in the spirit of Christ’s love. We realized that our paths were converging, so we joined into one organization with one mission and one name: Cassia. Our name is inspired by an anointing oil, referenced in Scripture, to reflect our history of compassion, renewal, and future growth. We believe that coming together to contribute talents and skills makes us not only stronger but better able to serve. New name. New collaboration. Same values.