Home Instead Senior Care, Birmingham

10 Signs of Alzheimer's

Monday, August 27, 2012

10 Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease: what is and what isn’t? It’s sometimes difficult to tell.

Dementia is the umbrella term for the variety of conditions that can cause the brain to fail. One of those is Alzheimer’s disease, which represents the majority of cases, noted Dr. Jane F. Potter, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 

“It’s safe to say that the thing that Alzheimer’s and other dementias have in common is a high risk of behavioral disorders – change in personality, people behaving in ways counter to their prior personality,’’ Dr. Potter said. “Normal old age does not cause memory loss. It’s not normal when people can’t take care of daily business, such as paying bills and writing checks.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, following are 10 warning signs* of Alzheimer’s compared with what are typical age-related changes:

Memory loss that disrupts daily life: One of the most common signs is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Typical age-related change? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later

Challenges in planning or solving problems: Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. Typical? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure: People sometimes may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. Typical? Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

Confusion with time or place: Losing track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. Typical? Getting confused about the day of the week, but figuring it out later.

Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: For some people, having vision problems is a sign. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror, for instance. Typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.

 New problems with words in speaking or writing: There is trouble following or joining a conversation. Typical? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: Placing things in unusual places. Sometimes they may accuse others of stealing. Typical? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses.

Decreased or poor judgment: Experiencing changes in judgment or decision-making. Typical? Making a bad decision once in a while.

Withdrawal from work or social activities: Some may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. Typical? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

Changes in mood and personality: Some can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work or with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. Typical? Developing specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

The Home Instead Senior Care® network is a corporate member of the Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance, whose goal is to educate about the warning signs of Alzheimer's, the importance of early detection and the resources available to help them.

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