November 21, 2019

November: Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

 Some memory loss is normal as we age, but memory loss that causes a disruption in your daily life could be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Know what signs and symptoms to look out for, and schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice any of them.

Brain Puzzle Alzheimer's Awareness

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
    • This includes forgetting recently learned information, facts, and dates, asking the same questions repeatedly, and increased reliance on the help of notes and reminders from others.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change would be occasionally forgetting information such as appointment, names, etc. but later remembering them.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
    • Some may experience changes is ability to create and follow through with plans, and/or problems working with numbers. Examples include trouble following familiar instructions (such as a recipe) or keeping track of bills.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change would be making occasional mistakes when conducting these tasks.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
    • People with Alzheimer’s disease may find it difficult to complete daily tasks such as driving to the grocery store.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change would be needing occasional help with familiar tasks.
  4. Confusion with time or place
    • Losing track of day of the week, time of day, etc. May also forget where they are or how they got there.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change would be getting temporarily confused about the day of the week.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
    • Problems judging distance, determining colors, etc. May lead to problems with ability to drive.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change may include vision changes due to cataracts.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
    • Problems engaging in conversation, such as forgetting the subject or coming up with the words they are looking for.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change would be having occasional trouble finding the right word.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
    • May put things in unusual places and/or lose the ability to retrace steps when they misplace something. May accuse others of “stealing” things as the disease progresses.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change would be misplacing things occasionally but being able to find them.
  8. Decreased or poor judgement
    • May start to display poor judgement in dealing with money and attending to personal care tasks such as bathing.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change would be making an occasional bad decision such as neglecting an oil change in their vehicle.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
    • Due to changes in ability to hold/ follow conversation or keep up with events, a person with Alzheimer’s may withdraw from social activities or have trouble keeping up with work.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change would be occasionally being uninterested in such obligations.
  10. Changes in mood and personality
    • May experience mood and/or personality changes. For example, they can become confused, anxious, fearful, depressed or suspicious. They may also become easily upset in unfamiliar situations.
    • In contrast, a typical/ normal age-related change would be becoming irritable when their usual routine is disrupted.

Source: Alzheimer’s Association www.alz.org   Ten Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Also see: Ten Tips for Living with Alzheimer’s

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