Since posting our experiences with our aunt and her challenges with Alzheimer’s in: At Church, They Were Saying She Had An ‘Odor’, we have gotten quite a few questions from readers wondering whether there are any warning signs when a loved one has this debilitating disease. Well we did a little research and can share the article below which speaks to the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s as taken from http://www.alz.org/.
Most importantly, don’t forget to ask God to give you the strength (and patience) you will need to walk this difficult journey with your loved one. On many days your faith will be tested and you will need the support of your friends and other members of your family, so do not be afraid to make any requests necessary. Even so, know that our prayers are with you, even as you in turn pray for us.
If you live in Barbados, you can contact the Barbados Alzheimer’s Association for more details by calling 1-246-438-7111 or sending an e-mail to their office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
Have you noticed any of these warning signs? Please list any concerns you have and take this sheet with you to the doctor.
Note: This list is for information only and not a substitute for a consultation with a qualified professional.
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. What’s typical? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. What’s typical? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. What’s typical? Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
- Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. What’s typical? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection. What’s typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a “hand clock”). What’s typical? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. What’s typical? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
- Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. What’s typical? Making a bad decision once in a while.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. What’s typical? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.
- Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. What’s typical? Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
If you have questions about any of these warning signs, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends consulting a physician. Early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning.
Part III in this series will cover important areas to think about when planning long and short term care for loved ones e.g. have they made a will or do you have access to their bank account in the event of an emergency or what kind of home going celebration do they want? These will be hard discussions but necessary to reduce the stress of providing good care. This post will provide you with a valuable check list to keep you on track.
In the meantime, please leave a comment of encouragement for us!