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Alzheimer’s and Dementia

By: Deborah Tuff Email
By: Deborah Tuff Email

Earlier this week, a family came face to face with their worse fear, when their elderly mother turned up missing.

Four days after disappearing, Shelby Pettis was found alive, but family members were concerned because she suffers from dementia.

Dementia is a disease which declines the cognitive function of the brain, including movements, memory, and even hallucinations may be a result.

Alzheimer’s falls under dementia. But there is help; help that means the difference between knowing where your loved one is and losing them.

In Houston County alone, 2000 people suffer from the disease, but many family's are in denial.

Alzheimer’s Resource Center Director Kay Jones says, "Now, I tell people, 'You have to be honest with me.' And they say, 'Well, mom was fine a month ago.' I say, 'Don't cover up. Cause I covered up for my mom. Is this really something quick? Or has it happened, 'slowly over the years?"

The family of Shelby Pettis took a proactive approach, immediately notifying authorities their mother was on medication and suffered from dementia.

Pettis was found alive on a logging road.

But others may not be so lucky.

So, business women got together to raise money for what could be the answer to prayers for families of those who suffer from memory loss.

Through Project Lifesaver, patients who may wander off get a tracking device bracelet for their arm.

It’s free, but not many people are taking advantage of it.

“Not many people are using it,” Jones says. “But those who wander off usually are found."

Those with the Alzheimer’s Resource Center also offer support groups, pamphlets, and free books for families, because Alzheimer’s can strike your loved one anytime.

Sometimes tumors can result in what seems like Alzheimer’s symptoms. To find out, experts say take your loved one to get a cat-scan, immediately.

For more information on the lifesaving bracelet or dementia and Alzheimer’s, call 702-2273.


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