the bottrop-based naturopath christian rüger in the nabo-blog: dementia & alzheimer’s disease affect us all
brain disorders - when it comes to the treatment and care, the motto should be "hats off to all those who are committed to patients and their relatives"
from practicing as a naturopath, i know what dementia is, what it triggers off in the patient’s brain, and what this diagnosis means for everything surrounding the affected Person. in medical terms, it is referred to as a ‘brain disorder’. however, i experience what the diagnosis of dementia means for the patients themselves and their relatives on a daily basis - including within my circle of friends. at first, it is mostly quite funny to see someone’s father permanently on the search for his car keys or his cellphone. but at some point, concerns will be raised. is this still normal? why can’t he think of certain names? why can’t he remember important events anymore?
when the diagnosis of alzheimer’s disease or dementia thwarts all your plans for the future
dementia is a brain disease. no laughing matter. there is no cure for it as yet, despite extensive research. a few weeks ago, i met up with a friend from my primary school days. when he heard what i do for a living, he told me about his mother-in-law. in early summer they got a diagnosis for her. she has alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia. the whole family feels as though they have fallen into a deep hole. "can you imagine how this has affected my wife?" he asked me. "she is angry about this disease, which has thwarted all the plans that her mother had for retirement. and she's afraid of the future. what will happen if we can no longer provide the care? where will her mother be cared for?"
specialists are available for exact diagnoses
i can well understand the fears, although i do not know my schoolfriend’s wife nor his mother-in-law Personally. at the naturopathic practice, i have frequently found that many relatives in this situation feel like they’ve been left all alone, and are often simply overwhelmed. i'm sure that you can well comprehend this.
this is why the work at the memory clinics, among other places, is so important. the first clinic of this kind was opened in switzerland exactly 30 years ago. there are now also various facilities for geriatric medicine in germany, which specialize in the treatment and therapy of dementia patients. there is one such clinic in the city of essen, in the ruhr area. the specialist team there can perform an exact diagnosis of brain disorders - because memory defects can point to very different clinical pictures, not all of which are caused by alzheimer’s disease.
the number of brain disorders will continue to rise
however, the figures are not to be taken lightly. today, 1.6 million People suffer from a form of dementia. about 60 percent of which is alzheimer’s. looking at the demographic development, we can be sure this number will continue to rise. i find this to be a topic that concerns us all. i think that the initiative by the federal health minister, hermann gröhe, and the federal family minister, manuela schwesig, is really good. they gave the green light in berlin to a germany-wide initiative called "dementia partner" which clarifies dementia diseases, the needs of People with dementia and those of their families too. this will be carried out by the german alzheimer society. an important step in the right direction, isn’t it?
each of us wants to be well and lovingly cared for – and rightly so
dementia partners are sought. the german alzheimer society is the contact partner for courses where you can condition yourself. the aim is to develop more understanding for those who are suffering from dementia. and to be by their side to help them every day – whether that’s when they have to visit the authorities or when they go shopping. this enables each Person to be there when he/she can. the financial aspect is equally important. from january 1, 2017, People with dementia will finally have an equal right to access all the services of nursing care insurance. a bit more security. security for my family, but also for myself.
this reassures me. after all, everyone wants to be well and lovingly cared for. encouraged and given the best therapy. and we would like the same for our loved ones, wouldn’t we?
can the risk of dementia be reduced? - my Personal prevention program
a long-term study by the university of pittsburgh in pennsylvannia, which was published in 2010, shows that the risk of dementia can be significantly reduced if you walk 9.7 kilometers per week. okay, i’d rather leave that to my colleagues – such as the naturopath farid zitoun. he prefers jogging to walking and is happy to cover a few kilometers more. however, the effect is the same. i, in contrast, go rowing in the ruhr area or put my feet to the pedals of my bicycle. this is my Personal, but, above all, pro-active prevention program against alzheimer’s disease.
and nutrition also plays an important role. plenty of fruit, vegetables, fish and nuts are considered real alzheimer’s inhibitors. the researchers suspect that the positive effect is mainly due to the omega-3 fatty acids.
what does alzheimer or dementia mean for you? what are your experiences, including in terms of aroma care and aromatherapy?
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