As people age they often notice that they are experiencing increasing problems with memory. It is estimated that approximately 40 percent of all seniors over the age of 65 suffer from memory loss. While some age-related memory impairment is a normal part of the aging process, severe memory loss accompanied by declining thinking and reasoning skills can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
For adult children of aging parents, figuring out whether their loved one has Alzheimer’s and is in need of a trained health caregiver can be difficult. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are some early warning signs that can point to the disease.
- Memory Loss
While many aging seniors forget people’s names and have trouble finding the right word, people with Alzheimer’s have extreme memory loss and forget even recently learned information. They may ask the same question over and over again. You may discover that they rely on you to provide reminders about things that they previously handled on their own.
- Problem Solving
We have all made the occasional mistake while balancing a checkbook, but people with Alzheimer’s experience a decreasing ability to work with numbers, have trouble following a plan and find it hard to concentrate on routine matters. People with Alzheimer’s take more time to get things done, and they may have trouble getting to familiar places.
- Losing Track of Place and Time
Seniors, especially retirees with no set schedule, often become confused about the day of the week. People with Alzheimer’s may not relate to time as it passes, resulting in an inability to come up with the correct date or the season of the year. They might not remember where they are, or the circumstances that brought them there.
- Visual Problems
Many seniors have changes in their vision due to cataracts, but this is generally correctable and does not indicate a brain disease. Alzheimer’s patients, on the other hand, may have trouble visual problems that interfere with reading. They may also have trouble judging distances, which can put them at risk while driving.
- Problems with Communicating
Seniors with Alzheimer’s often repeat themselves, and they may have difficulty following a conversation. They might stop in the middle of a sentence and lack the ability to pick up where they left off, and they may forget words or use them incorrectly.
- Losing Things
We all tend to misplace our belongings once in a while, but we can often retrace our steps to locate the items. Alzheimer’s patients might store things in an inappropriate place and accuse others of stealing when they have trouble finding them.
- Poor Judgment
If your loved one demonstrates poor judgment or consistently makes bad decisions, it may be a sign of Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s disease may not keep up with personal hygiene and grooming as they should.
- Personality Changes
If your normally upbeat parents becomes suspicious, anxious or upset, they may be demonstrating changes due to Alzheimer’s. Mood and personality changes may cause them to withdraw from social activities and refuse to participate in sports and hobbies.
Dealing with Alzheimer’s
When you need a home health caregiver for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, contact Home Helpers of South Shore at 781-585-1244. Learn about the support we provide to make life easier. We provide continuing education videos on hundreds of caregiving topics including Alzheimer’s, and we have a Certified Alzheimer’s Educator onstaff who can train caregivers and alert them to signs of the disease. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are treatments that can slow its progress.
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