Aging or Alzheimer’s? National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

three older adult women sitting at table facing for photo

A friend’s name may elude us. We may have trouble thinking of the right word to use. Or we’ve walked into another room and forgotten what it was we needed. Are these examples of aging, early memory loss or just simply being distracted, by doing one thing while you’re thinking of another? If you or a loved one have noticed one or several of the warning signs below, get checked out. Seek out a memory care specialist or schedule an appointment with your physician today.

Memory Loss: We all forget things like appointments, names, and phone numbers occasionally, and that’s normal, but forgetting freshly learned information more often can be a concern.

Communication Problems: Having trouble finding the right word is not unusual, but an Alzheimer’s sufferer often forgets simple words and may use unusual words or strange descriptions, for example: a camera may become “that box that makes pictures.”

Problems with everyday tasks: A person with Alzheimer’s can start having trouble doing jobs or hobbies that they’ve had many years of experience with; for example, they may be halfway through their favorite recipe and forget how to finish it though they’ve done it many times before.

Misplacing things: This isn’t your average “I lost my car keys again,” but more like putting things in unusual places, such as ice cream in the oven, or clothes in the dishwasher.

Disorientation: A person with Alzheimer’s disease can get lost in their own street or stay sitting at the bus station because they can’t remember where they were going. They may not remember how to get home.

Impaired judgement: Wearing a thick jacket on a blazing hot day or a swimsuit in the middle of winter could be a sign of dementia. Having poor judgement with money can be a symptom too, such as spending big amounts of money with telemarketers or buying products that aren’t needed.

Mood swings and personality changes: Mood changes for no apparent reason can be another symptom of onset Alzheimer’s. An individual could be happy and cheerful one minute, and then suddenly become extremely angry over something that is quite trivial, or possibly imagined. They can become clingy or possessive with specific family members or suspicious of the neighbors.

Loss of initiative: We can all get tired of housework or our business activities sometimes. But Alzheimer’s disease can make a once-busybody become quite passive, whether watching television for hours, not participating in normal activities, or spending more
time sleeping.

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