November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The designation of this month is meant to bring awareness to the disease, promote research efforts and take steps in our community to improve lives for seniors and family caregivers impacted by this form of dementia.
Currently, no cure exists for Alzheimer’s disease. However, many effective treatments slow the decline of memory for seniors. This improves longevity and quality of life. These treatments are most effective when the disease is diagnosed in the earliest stages. This makes it crucial for seniors, their family members and professional in home caregivers to be aware of the early indicators of Alzheimer’s.
Difficulty Finding the Right Words
Seniors with Alzheimer’s often have difficulty carrying on a conversation. In the earliest stages, many are able to converse with others but may take an extended amount of time to come up with the right words to use. In some cases, the words cannot be found at all. While this is common for all of us to do from time to time, when it happens regularly, a visit to the doctor may be in order.
Repeating stories or questions can be a sign of dementia. When this repeating happens frequently or over the course of a very short period of time, consider mentioning it to your doctor. People will Alzheimer’s often follow this pattern even when well rested and not in any way distracted.
Trouble Following a Recipe
If grandma has always been a great cook but suddenly has difficulty following a favorite recipe, pay attention. This may be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s for two reasons. First, following a recipe requires that the chef remember each individual step for at least a short period of time. Second, recipes often involve some advanced planning, and that sort of planning is difficult for anyone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Difficulty with visual-spatial coordination and depth perception are indicators of many different health problems. One of them is Alzheimer’s disease. People with these issues often have difficulty walking down stairs or driving an automobile. Early detection can provide crucial information, and it is easy to do with an annual eye exam.
Placing Things in Odd Places
If a visit to grandpa’s house leads you to finding the keys in the refrigerator or a gallon of milk in the pantry, consider it a warning sign. While misplacing items once in awhile is common and something we all do, frequently losing the same item is a problem.
Changes in Behavior
A person’s personality is often impacted by Alzheimer’s. They are no longer able to find common items, perform favorite hobbies or complete everyday tasks independently. Fear, paranoia and anxiety sometimes lead to changes in behavior. These changes sometimes appear early in the progression of the disease. Understanding them helps you to both cope and seek professional assistance.
Remember that none of these signs alone indicate Alzheimer’s disease. A thorough medical exam will rule out problems or let you know when concerns are present.
If your loved one is in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, proper interventions help slow the decline of the disease. After a diagnosis, Salus Homecare San Gabriel is here to support seniors by providing quality, compassionate in home care. We also continue to advocate for improvements in Alzheimer’s care and ongoing research. These efforts will, perhaps, one day lead to a cure. Call us if you have questions or need assistance.
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