The Alzheimer Society is the leading not-for-profit health organization working nationwide to improve the quality of life for Canadians affected by Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and advance the search for the cause and cure. Active in communities right across Canada, the Society has programs and services near you.
Alzheimer's disease is irreversible and destroys brain cells, causing thinking ability and memory to deteriorate. Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Dr. Alois Alzheimer first identified the disease in 1906. He described the two hallmarks of the disease: "plaques," which are numerous tiny, dense deposits scattered throughout the brain that become toxic to brain cells at excessive levels, and "tangles," which interfere with vital processes, eventually choking off the living cells. When brain cells degenerate and die, the brain markedly shrinks in some regions.
The effects of Alzheimer’s disease Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal disease that eventually affects all aspects of a person’s life: how they think, feel, and act. Each person is affected differently. It is difficult to predict symptoms, the order in which they will appear, or the speed of their progression.
The following are some of the changes you may expect as the disease progresses.
Cognitive and functional abilities: a person’s ability to understand, think, remember and communicate will be affected. This could impact a person’s ability to make decisions, perform simple tasks, or follow a conversation. Sometimes people lose their way, or experience confusion and memory loss, initially for recent events and eventually for long-term events.
Emotions and moods: a person may appear apathetic and lose interest in favourite hobbies. Some people become less expressive and withdrawn.
Behaviour: a person may have reactions that seem out of character. Some common reactions include repeating the same action or words, hiding possessions, physical our bursts and restlessness.
Physical abilities: the disease can affect a person’s coordination and mobility, to the point of affecting their ability to perform day-to-day tasks such as eating, bathing and getting dressed.
Alzheimer Society of Windsor and Essex County is dedicated to serving those with Alzheimer’s disease, and related dementia and their caregivers in the community. There are currently over 6100 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia in Windsor and Essex County. It is projected that these numbers will double within 25 years.