Baton Rouge Parents Magazine

Navigating the Dementia Journey

Help Available to Navigate the Dementia Journey

Dementia is a broad term used to describe neurological conditions that affect memory, problem-solving, language, social skills, and behavior to the extent that daily functioning is impaired. Early signs include memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, disorientation to time and place, poor or decreased judgment, difficulty with abstract thinking, misplacing things, changes in personality, and/or loss of initiative. While there are similarities between all people affected, each individual’s experience is unique. Dementia is not a normal part of aging, and while most affected are older, it can affect younger people. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Other types of dementia include vascular, Lewy Body, Frontotemporal and mixed. Some causes of dementia symptoms may be reversible, such as dementia due to infection, metabolic imbalance, and medication.

There are currently 6.9 million people over age 65 affected by Alzheimer’s in the United States. There are an estimated 200,000 affected that are under age 65. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is currently unknown. Some suspected causes include diseased genes or a genetic predisposition, abnormal protein build-up in the brain, and environmental toxins. Although no cure for Alzheimer’s disease is presently available, proper education, good planning, and support can ease the burdens on those affected and their caregivers. Alzheimer’s Services has been the local Alzheimer’s resource providing this support for the Greater Baton Rouge area since 1983.

Alzheimer’s Services is an independent nonprofit governed by a local Board of Directors. Our mission to teach, care for, and connect with those affected by Alzheimer’s or a related impairment in our community is achieved through the programs and services we provide, including education programs on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias; support services for the memory-impaired, physicians, and caregivers; a Resource Library; telephone HelpLine; social activities for families and affected individuals; Charlie’s Place Activity & Respite Centers in Baton Rouge and Gonzales; and the Respite Reimbursement Program.

Alzheimer’s Services strives to be on the forefront of setting best practice standards for Alzheimer’s care to meet the needs of those we serve. We offer families a hand to hold and guidance to navigate their Alzheimer’s journey. We attempt to reach caregivers and those affected earlier in the disease process and positively impact their journey by helping them prepare rather than react. Such preparation can significantly improve the quality of care and life of those affected and their caregivers.