Alzheimer's disease is a physical illness that causes radical changes in the brain. As healthy brain tissues degenerate, persons suffering from Alzheimer's experience a steady decline in memory and in the ability to use their brain to perform previously familiar tasks.
- Over time, a person with Alzheimer's disease has trouble remembering, speaking, learning, making judgments, and planning.
- Persons suffering from Alzheimer's are often moody, restless, and sometimes mean.
- Alzheimer's disease affects almost all aspects of brain functioning, including personality, and the ability to perform the most basic activities of daily functioning.
- Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for as much as 70% of all cases of dementia.
- Age is one of the most important risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. The percentage of persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease doubles every 5 years beyond the age of 65.
- Women are more likely to develop the disease than men are – in part, because women live longer.
- People who have a brother, sister, or parent suffering from Alzheimer's disease have a slightly higher chance of developing the disease. Right now about 3 percent have a proven hereditary link (genetics).
- Heredity plays a much larger role in early-onset (before age 65) Alzheimer's. About 500,000 Americans suffer from early onset Alzheimer's. The number is growing.
ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE is a devastating mental disorder in which a severe loss of memory and other mental functions causes most patients to require institutional care. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
The Alzheimer's Association estimates that more than 5 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer's disease, making it the most prevalent type of brain function loss, accounting for nearly 65% of all dementia cases. The World Health Organization estimates that 35 million people suffer from this disease worldwide.
There is no cure, but studies have shown that patients who engage in simple mental activities, such as working jigsaw puzzles, can slow down the progression of this terrible disease.
- Memory loss
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Changes in personality
- Loss of initiative
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems with language
- Disorientation to time and place
- Poor or decreased judgment
- Problems with abstract thinking
- Changes in gait or walking
- Misplacing things
- Repeat themselves
- Forget conversations
- Routinely misplace things, often putting them in illogical locations
- Have problems with abstract thinking
- Are unable to maintain a schedule or keep appointments
- Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects
- Mood swings
- Distrust in others
- Increased stubbornness
- Social withdrawal
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Pneumonia. Difficulty swallowing food and liquids may cause people with Alzheimer's to inhale (aspirate) some of what they eat and drink into their airways and lungs, which can lead to pneumonia.
- Infections. Urinary incontinence which increases the risk of urinary tract infections. Untreated urinary tract infections can lead to more-serious, life-threatening infections.
- Injuries from falls. People with Alzheimer's may become disoriented, increasing their risk of falls. Falls can lead to fractures. In addition, falls are a common cause of serious head injuries, such as bleeding in the brain.
- Lots of fruits and vegetables
- Fish or poultry, instead of red meat
- Whole-grain breads and cereals
- Alternate sources of proteins, such as beans, nuts and seeds
- More olive oil and less saturated fat
PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's patients.
PLEASE HELP US supply these puzzles, either by using the "DONATE" button at the top of the page to make a contribution, or by contributing your new or gently used puzzles to our program.
WHY THIS APPROACH? Other programs raise money for research, which is an important long-range goal. Our approach is to benefit Alzheimer's patients more immediately by providing activities that will bring them pleasure while also slowing down the progression of the disease. Instead of focusing on far-off goals, our approach will realize a more immediate benefit to today's patients.
Studies have shown that working puzzles is a form of mental activity that not only engages and stimulates Alzheimer's patients, it also slows down the progression of the disease and thus provides important salutary benefits. This is very important for patients in the early stages of the disease, including those who have not yet been diagnosed. For these people, the working of puzzles and similar mental activities can significantly postpone the onset of symptoms or avoid these symptoms altogether. Painting and other forms of artistic and creative expression also have strong, beneficial effects, and often result in improvement in overall brain function. Here is a partial listing of some references about the benefits of puzzle-solving and artistic activities for Alzheimer's patients:
|This campaign has already collected thousands of puzzles, many contributed by their manufacturers, and others contributed by the general public at various collection boxes. (Click here for an up-to-date list of these locations.) These puzzles will be distributed to nursing homes, mental health facilities, and other institutions caring for Alzheimer's patients.|
- Dementia and the Eight Types of Dementia
- Does the Combination of Aricept and Namenda Help Slow the Rate of Decline in Alzheimer's Patients
- Test Your Memory (TYM) for Alzheimer's or Dementia in Five Minutes
- Is it Really Alzheimer's or Something Else?
- Urinary Incontinence -- How We Beat Alzheimer's Incontinence
- Advice and Insight -- Alzheimer's Reading Room