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Alzheimer's Disease in Israel

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Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral, and social skills that disrupts a person's ability to function independently. While Alzheimer's is a cause of dementia, it is a different disorder than simple dementia. The dying brain cells result in a different outcome than simple dementia.

Most people associate memory loss with Alzheimer's. Other early symptoms and examples are:

1. Inability to multi-task- for example; impossible to keep tabs on how personal finances work

2. Unreasonable decisions –for example; insisting on wearing inappropriate clothes for the season

3. Changes in personality and behavior – for example; severe mood swings, wandering outside

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above behavior, it is important to consult your doctor. In Israel, the first step is to see your general practitioner. There you will receive a referral to either a neurologist or a geriatric psychiatrist. There must be open communication between your GP and the specialist. The specialist will order a CT Scan to make Alzheimer's diagnosis. An MRI may be the best way to diagnose the illness, but unfortunately, it can be difficult to be approved for MRIs in Israel.

After an Alzheimer's diagnosis, it's important to work the brain as much as possible. There are memory day centers such as Melabev, https://www.melabev.org.il/en/front-page/ all around Israel. These centers arrange transportation to and from the centers, activities, and meals to keep people with Alzheimer's stimulated and active.

Sadly, the prognosis of Alzheimer's is not good. There are no proven medications to stop the degeneration of brain cells. Alzheimer's often results in patients being unable to care for themselves.

The family of a loved one with Alzheimer's has a long, challenging road ahead. Thought-out plans for the care and future must be discussed and managed. The family may choose to care for the patient themselves, bring in a full-time caregiver, or move the patient to a nursing home specially designed for Alzheimer's patients. There are many of these homes throughout Israel. Bituach Leumi and the kupah's social worker can help you decide what is right for you.

EMA Care case managers are here to assist you with diagnosis, care, and services for patients with Alzheimer's Disease. 

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