Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, behavior, and thinking. Nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Today, Alzheimer’s is at the forefront of biomedical research.
James Barnes, 86, of Linden, North Carolina was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. He had already had a history of heart problems since early 2005. The dementia diagnosis only added to his rocky medical history. When James was diagnosed with dementia he was at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina being treated for congestive heart failure. It was not until he began to make confusing statements that doctors decided to test James.
Since his diagnosis, James has been living with his youngest daughter, her husband and their four children. To keep his health, memory, and sanity in check, James takes several prescription medications. He takes medicine in the morning and at night. His diet consists of no salt.
One of the challenges of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is the sudden mood changes.
“One day he is completely calm and the next day he can be very irritable. It all depends on how effective the medicine is, his daughter Christina Pennie said.
James does not know that he has Alzheimer’s. He believes that he is a young boy and still lives with his parents.
“Pa taught me everything I know”, James Barnes said.
Elderly people with Alzheimer’s find joy in being around small children.
“He really loves to play and laugh with his great granddaughter. She keeps him alert and smiling”, Christina said.
Each day is a challenge in the life of James Barnes but with the help of his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren he will be celebrating 87 years of life on April 20, 2016. Alzheimer’s alters a person’s life as it progresses.
We just take each day one step at time, that’s all we can do”, Christina said.