Saturday, November 7, 2009
November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month
Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder with which millions of people are living. It is the most common form of dementia and, while there is no cure, there are treatments for symptoms. If you are worried about someone you know possibly having Alzheimer's disease, there are 10 signs for which to watch:
1. Memory loss that affects daily life: This is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer's disease, especially forgetting recently learned information (along with important dates or events). Other signs would be asking for the same information over and over and asking family members for things they used to handle on their own.
2. Challenges in planning or problem solving: They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of bills. They may also have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home (work or leisure): Someone with Alzheimer's might find it hard to complete a daily task such as driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
4. Confusion about time or place: People with Alzheimer's can lose track of the season, dates, and the passing of time. They sometimes have trouble understanding something if it is not happening at that moment. Sometimes they may even forget where they are or how they got there.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: Some people have vision problems as a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading and judging distance, or even determining color or contrast. As for perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room and may not realize they are the person in the mirror.
6. New problems with words (speaking or writing): People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following a conversation or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a speaking and not know how to continue or they may just repeat themselves. They would possibly struggle with vocabulary and have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: Someone with Alzheimer's would possibly put things in unusual places. They may lose things and not be able to go back over their steps to figure out where they put it. They may even accuse others of stealing. This would happen more frequently over time.
8. Decreased judgment or poor judgment: Someone with Alzheimer's may use poor judgment when dealing with money and also don't pay as much attention to taking care of themselves.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities: A person with Alzheimer's may stop with hobbies and social activities. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports teams or remembering how to do a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social in general because of changes they have experienced.
10. Mood or personality changes: The mood of someone with Alzheimer's can change in such a way where they can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, and anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends, and in any place that is out of their comfort zone.
For more information about Alzheimer's Disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association website: http://www.alz.org/index.asp