Dr. Goschi's Blog

Coping With Aged Parents

There are many conflicts that arise from having to deal with the endless demands placed on an adult of aging parents.  When I refer to aged I am not speaking about 60 something individuals.  Heck I perceive them in today’s world to be almost middle aged.  Instead, I am addressing those of us who have parents living beyond 70 years old.

If a parent lives well into their 80’s or 90’s it is likely that they will require additional support.  Whether it’s their physical or cognitive issues it is a struggle to provide them with the attention they deserve/require.  But today I want to talk more about deteriorating cognitive abilities that affect so many of our beloved senior parents.  Whether it is a diagnosable case of Alzheimers or Dementia or simply the normal deterioration of the aging brain.

Alzheimer’s is a disease first discovered in 1906 by a German neuropathologist.  In particular, Alzheimer’s refers to a deterioration of nerve clusters in the brain.  As a person develops the disease the nerve clusters become tangled and calcified.  The calcification process causes many of the brain cells to die.  The death of the brain cells is what affects memory and behavior in the afflicted individual.

To diagnose the illness the person must be tested and often brain scans are done as well.  A wooping 6 million individuals are diagnosed with Alzheimers in the United Sates alone.  It is estimated 10% of the population over 65 and 50% of the population over 85 will develop Alzheimers.  On average a person lives for  8 years following the initial diagnosis.  Mind you these are only averages.

There are thought to be at least 6 general causes of Alzheimer’s.  Some are found to have stronger links than others.  I will just list them for you rather than get into the details.  The attributing factors are as follows; increased blood pressure and high cholesterol, gene mutations on three chromosomes, amyloid beta protein that doesn’t break down, folate and choline deficiencies, excessive amounts of aluminum and environmental toxins.

While we could ruminate about the causes of the deterioration in our senior parent’s functioning it is instead important to understand how to best cope with their symptoms.  First and foremost you have to take care of yourself.  Coping with the insidious nature of this illness can cause enormous stress.  Get support from wherever you can.  Do not isolate yourself.  Talk to loved ones.  Make sure you pay attention to your health.

It is essential to always maintain a non confrontational positive attitude when dealing with your Alzheimer inflicted parent.  Remember, they cannot control their moods or feelings.  They are no longer the parent that you remember.  Instead, you should adapt your reactions to fit with their reality.  There is simply no point to arguing with a parent who cannot recuperate memories to which you’re referring.  Instead, take each day as it comes and look for the simply joys you can continue to embrace with your afflicted parent.

As always help is just a phone call away.  Call Dr. Goschi today at (312)595-1787.

Leave a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

(will not be published)