World Alzheimer’s Month is in September and has been running since 2012. It is an annual international event aiming to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding the condition.
It is thought that the understanding of Alzheimer’s is poor throughout the world and therefore an increase in understanding and knowledge of the disease as well as dementia is vital.
Dementia is a degenerative brain condition that affects over 50 million people worldwide. There are over 100 forms of dementia with Alzheimer’s Disease running at about 60%. It can remove the memory of the brain, competency and alter behavioural awareness. It is very sad to see a family member or friend suffering with this condition.
We have recently had the pleasure of treating a patient with Alzheimers and thought we would share the experience that not only the patient had, but also her loved ones around her.
Please read an extract written by an Alzheimer sufferer’s husband:
How do you relate to someone with Alzheimer's?
"My wife Shoko’s Alzheimer's progressed quite suddenly toward the end of 2016. At the same time, she faced problems with bursitis at her hip, which didn’t respond to the occasional physiotherapy arranged by our GP. They gave her exercises to do at home, but she didn’t understand, and I wasn’t able to motivate her. We arranged some sessions at Wimbledon Physiotherapy, hoping that at least she could do some of the needed exercises each time.
We got much more than that.
Our physio, Antonia, related to Shoko very personally, with great understanding. She began with gentle stretching and massage, going at her pace. Then they started throwing a ball to each other – and singing! Shoko loved singing and she specially loved her old Japanese songs. A quickly picked up two favourites and they were off. Later Antonia found herself singing those songs at home, and the team at Wimbledon Physiotherapy enjoyed hearing them too.
Within a few weeks the hip problem was much better. Unfortunately, Shoko got knocked over accidentally and had a compressed fracture in her back. Walking became difficult again. So, we continued our sessions, now twice a week.
They became a highlight of the week. Antonia showed such warmth and Shoko responded with her own affectionate personality. Some days she was tired and not really interested. Most days she loved it. Either way Antonia was the same, always smiling and playing along with her.
Our sessions were not just exercise – though that was really valuable; they became outings to enjoy with a friend. Shoko also loved meeting the rest of the team and greeting the other clients, sometimes singing them a song as well.
The key was the warm relationship. That’s important for all of us, but especially for those with Alzheimer's. Understanding may have become reduced but emotional ability is stronger than ever. The best way to communicate is through warmth and love. Which is what we experienced at Wimbledon Physiotherapy."
If you would like to learn more on how you can help or get involved, please visit www.alzheimers.org.uk