President Ronald Regan declared November as “National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month” in 1983, 20 years before he died of Alzheimer’s. While the majority of diagnoses are among Older Adults, around 200,000 Americans experience early-onset Alzheimer’s disease before the age of 65.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a severe loss of memory and cognitive ability. Dementia is a progressive disease. Symptoms develop slowly and get worse over the years. Long before you notice memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease causes microscopic changes in the brain. As damage spreads, cells lose capabilities and eventually die. The cell loss causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.
The Ten Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
There are ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If you notice any of them, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
4. Confusion with time and place
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
7.Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8. Decreased or poor judgment
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
10. Changes in mood and personality
Diagnosis and Treatment
If your loved one is showing signs of dementia, schedule a doctor’s visit. A medical professional can diagnose and offer treatment options. Medical diagnosis is only the first step in caring for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease. While there is no cure, there are treatments. These treatments cannot permanently stop symptoms from getting worse, but they do temporarily slow progression and improve quality of life.
Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s
In the early stages, most people can live independently with minimal support. However, there may come a time when you need to call in professional caregivers. Feeling stressed is a clear warning sign that your loved one’s needs have escalated beyond your ability to care for them.
In later stages of dementia, wandering and agitation may become a problem. Worrying that your loved one will get lost only adds to your stress. After all, you can’t supervise them 24/7. At some point, you may need assistance in caring for your loved one. In-home care provides extra support and peace of mind.
You don’t have to do this on your own. One of our Companion Caregivers or Certified Homemaker-Home Health Aides can provide your loved one with daily care and companionship. Anita’s Angels, Inc. – We Are Families Helping Families. Call 908-788-9390.