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The Disease Americans Know Little About
Monday, April 30, 2012 9:17:27 AM - Monroe Ohio

by Stacy Hilton

As a child when you were confused, Mom always seemed to have the answer. Her words, her wisdom were your compass. But when you go back home for Mother’s Day, you may feel like Mom now needs you more than you need her. She’s forgetful and in a fog. Is it just old age or Alzheimer’s? You suddenly feel panicked and scared…but you’re not alone.

Half of all Americans know someone with Alzheimer’s, the deadly disease that affects five million of us -more women than men. Yet in a recent National Alzheimer’s Quiz taken by more than one thousand Americans, 67% or 2/3 failed (they got fewer than 60% of the questions correct)!

It may hit you and your siblings when you visit Mom this Mother’s Day. She’s not as sharp as she used to be - very forgetful and confused. Is it just old age or Alzheimer’s?  You suddenly feel panicked and scared…but you’re not alone.

“We have a crisis in America because Alzheimer’s is a deadly epidemic yet this quiz shows that many people still don’t know enough about the disease or how to best communicate with a loved one who has it. As our population grows older and lives longer, families will need survival skills to cope through the various stages of the disease and manage the stressful toll it takes on everyone,”says Peter Ross, CEO and founder of Senior Helpers, one of our nation’s largest in-home senior care companies and co- creator of the Senior Gems program.  “We launched Senior Gems to give caregivers and family members a hands-on guide for education and survival.”

Pam’s Mother’s Day Heartbreak

Pam Huntoon from Twin Cities, Minnesota says she didn’t know much about Alzheimer’s disease until her 85-year-old mother was diagnosed. “You suddenly do a ton of research but that doesn’t teach you how to handle the person in real life situations,” she says. “Mom used to be witty and sharp with a great sense of humor. Now she has hallucinations and she’s very confused. It’s a struggle.”

Pam watched the Senior Gems DVD and hired a Senior Helper’s caregiver trained in Gems to help with her mom five days a week. “It has been such a blessing to have this help. I’ve learned it’s not Mom’s fault that she acts this way, that she can’t help herself. I can’t argue or prove my point. Gems has taught me to be patient and kind and that has been a lifesaver as we guide Mom through this final stage of her life.”

Senior Helper’s Alzheimer’s Quiz

Take the quiz. (Key Below)

Alzheimer’s only affects memory skills. (Pick one)

a) True, other parts of the brain are not damaged by Alzheimer’s
b) False, it affects memory and language skills
c) True, it spreads through the memory center, eventually keeping if from working at all
d) False, it affects memory, language, vision, sensation & motor skills, and decision making ability

2. Can you get Alzheimer’s if no one in your family has/had it? (Pick one)

a) Yes – Anyone can develop the disease.
b) No – Alzheimer’s is purely genetic.
c) No – a family member on your mother’s side must have had Alzheimer’s to put you at risk of developing it.

3. What’s the most common ‘early’ sign of Alzheimer’s disease? (Pick one)

a) Can’t remember NEW information
b) Can’t remember OLD information
c) Can’t remember ANY information

4. At what age is your working memory the sharpest and fastest it will ever be? ( Pick one)

a) 10-14 years old
b) 2-10 years old
c) 30-35 years old
d) 14-18 years old
e) 35-45 years old
f) 26-30 years old
g) Late teens to early 20s
h) 45-50 years old

5. What is the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia? (Pick one)

a) Alzheimer’s is progressive (gets worse with time) but dementia is not
b) Dementia is not as serious as Alzheimer’s,  it just affects memory
c) They are actually the same thing, just different names
d) Dementia is a general category and Alzheimer’s is a specific type of brain failure
e) Alzheimer’s is treatable, but dementia is not

6. Can you prevent Alzheimer’s? (Pick one)

a) Yes –You can prevent Alzheimer’s with a healthy diet.
b) Yes - You can prevent Alzheimer’s with brain exercises.
c) No – you cannot prevent Alzheimer’s.

7. Do people die from Alzheimer’s? (Pick one)

a) No – those with Alzheimer’s usually die from other causes.
b) Yes – Alzheimer’s is ultimately a fatal disease.
c) No – Alzheimer’s is memory-impairment disease, not life-threatening in almost all cases

8. These are all risk factors for Late Onset Alzheimer’s – which is the greatest known risk? (Pick one)

a) Brain injury
b) Increasing age
c) Genetics
d) Heart attack or stroke
e) Stress
f) Diet
g) Diabetes
h) Obesity

9. Alzheimer’s is a natural stage of aging (Pick one)

a) True – All seniors eventually get Alzheimer’s
b) False – If you lead a healthy and active lifestyle, you won’t get Alzheimer’s.
c) False – Alzheimer’s is not a natural stage of aging.

10. At age 85, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is closest to:

a) 5%
b) 25%
c) 50%
d) 75%
e) 100%

11. Which of the following is NOT true about dementia? (Pick one)

a) It is terminal
b) It is progressive (gets worse with time)
c) There is no known cure
d) There are more than 80 causes, types, and forms
e) It always results in the person becoming angry and dangerous in the later stage


FREE DVD of the Senior Gems program.  

About Senior Helpers:
Senior Helpers connects professional caregivers with seniors who wish to live at home as
opposed to a nursing or assisted living facility. The company has 300 franchises in 39 states and one in Canada offering a wide range of personal and companion care services to assist seniors living independently with a strong focus on quality of life for the client and peace of mind for their families. Senior Helpers strives to be the leading companion and personal care provider that offers dependable, consistent and affordable home care.
For more information, please visit

About Senior Gems:
Senior Gems is a revolutionary program to help family members and professional caregivers properly care for their aging loved ones through each stage of dementia.  Teepa Snow began developing her Gem Levels in 2006. In 2011, the Senior Gem program was created with her guidance and assistance.  This program puts Senior Helpers at the forefront of individual and in-home dementia-specialized care giving as they offer all of their in-home companions and caregivers the opportunity to become dementia care certified through the training program.


Answer Key:
1. d
2. a
3. a
4. g
5. d
6. c
7. b
8. b
9. c
10. c
11. e

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