Presented by ADAKC

While ADAKC’s annual Heart Never Forgets Gala is sold out, Executive Director, Janelle Capra and Jay Allen stop by to share their stories of loved ones they have lost to Alzheimer’s Disease

Studio 17 host, Shannon MacNeil, asks them for tips for families ahead of the holiday season. Then Jay Allen closes the show with a performance of his song, ‘No present like the time.’

What is Alzheimer’s Disease? 

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that develops gradually and is characterized by the destruction of nerve cells, especially in the areas of the brain vital to memory and learning. The pathological changes in the Alzheimer’s brain include deterioration and loss of neurons (nerve cells) leading to brain atrophy (shrinkage), and the abnormal accumulation of proteins forming amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. In addition, neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, glutamate, and serotonin are affected in Alzheimer’s Disease. While it is now clear that AD develops as a result of a complex cascade of events that take place over many years inside the brain, the cause (or causes) remains unknown.

The symptoms of AD become more evident as the client ages however, they may occur as early as age 40 (in rare cases, even younger). The risk of AD doubles every five years beyond age 65. The course of the disease varies from person to person. In some people the disease progresses quickly, reaching the end stage in only five years, while others may have it for as long as 20 years. The most common cause of death for people who survive to the end stage of AD is pneumonia.