*Why I Pick My Nose in Public*
By: Marsha3
20 August 2004

If you ask a survivalist to tell you some of the reasons he or she believes in preparedness to begin with, you’ll probably get a variety of answers, including "I believe in self reliance" or "We’re preparing for disasters, whether manmade or natural". But somewhere in a list of reasons you would receive were you to ask this question can be found one constant: "I prepare for my family".

Family is pretty much why we all do what we do. Regardless of how you believe TS will HTF, at the heart of our preparations and plans lies our family members.

In days gone by, extended families living and working together was pretty common. It was nothing to have several generations under one roof, from the very old to the very young. Family members had roles and task that each fulfilled to the betterment of the family as a whole. Those roles were of necessity ever changing. As babies grew up and could help more in the fields or around the house, they were taught by their elders how to run the family homestead, and took on more of the considerable physical labor involved in running a family compound. As the adults grew older, they passed their knowledge on to the younger generation, resulting in an ever-renewing cycle of learning and growth, and shifts of responsibility when the time came.

As people aged, the family took care of them up until death. "Rest homes" didn’t become commonplace until fairly recently in the scheme of things. It was commonplace for a person to be born and to die in the same house, many having never ventured more than 10 miles from home.

As people age, caring for them can sometimes be challenging. With aging frequently comes loss of various bodily functions. The eyesight diminishes, hearing is lost. Sometimes, confusion and memory loss sets in. Often, the last two are related to dementia.

Dementia is not a disease itself, but is rather a manifestation of other disease processes. There are different types of dementia. Some of the of the more common types are vascular dementia, which can be caused by strokes; depression; and chronic drug or alcohol use. Perhaps the most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s dementia, probably followed by Parkinson’s dementia. It’s estimated that about 50% to as much as 70% of all dementia patients suffer from Alzheimer’s type dementia.

Dementia isn’t just about someone becoming forgetful. While forgetfulness can and does occur, a demented person will often also suffer loss of reasoning abilities and behavioral disturbances. Dementia is usually a progressive disease, meaning that a person may start off simply forgetting where they put their keys and progress to actually forgetting how to eat and suffering mood swings and undesirable behavior, such as screaming inappropriately and loss of bowel and bladder control.

As stated above, there are several types of dementia, but Alzheimer’s is the most common. Dementia, regardless of the cause, seems to manifest with some of the same problems.

This Is Your Brain…This Is Your Brain With Dementia

Dementia is usually declining in its progress. Leaving the stove on or misplacing car keys are classic examples of the early stages, when forgetfulness may become more pronounced. As the dementia progresses, mood swings, hallucinations, and depression become more evident. The forgetfulness progresses to forgetting to bathe, or forgetting to eat, even. Final stages of Alzheimer’s dementia are characterized by forgetting HOW to eat, loss of bowel and bladder function, forgetting how to walk, and inability to express oneself.

Why does this happen?

We’ve all seen pictures of a normal, healthy brain. Everything is packed tightly, no spaces, and functioning well. If you took it out and sliced it like a loaf of bread, it would be solid, no holes, nothing loose.

Not so in a brain with Alzheimer’s.

If you took the brain of a person suffering from Alzheimer’s out, you’d see that it is smaller than a healthy brain, more shriveled. If you sliced our Alzheimer’s brain like a loaf of bread, you’d see that it wasn’t as firm as our healthy brain, and had holes, sort of like Swiss cheese. The more the dementia progresses, the more the brain breaks down.

No wonder people suffering from dementia do the things they do-they are losing brain capacity. As such, the brain is retaining only essential functions till the very end, such as making the heart work, and breathing. In the end, this gives way too, as usually by now the demented patient is suffering from several other health problems-perhaps poor nutrition, because of forgetting how to eat, or a bacterial or viral process their weakened body can’t fight off.

People who suffer from dementia cannot reason the way a person with a healthy brain can, which can lead to behaviors that are considered to not be "nice", or socially acceptable. For example, if I’m giving a speech in front of fifty people, and my rear end starts itching, I have the self-control to refrain from scratching it, because it’s not considered polite to do so in front of people. A person with dementia, however, cannot reason that out, and that is why dementia sufferers pick their noses, scratch inappropriate areas, or even masturbate in public.

As stated in the beginning of the article, we prepare for our families. There may very well be a member of your family that you’re called to care for who is suffering already or who may begin to suffer the effects of dementia.

In further articles on this subject, we’ll discuss ways to care for and cope with family members who suffer from dementia.

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