Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis is all settled into our new office space and we hope you had a nice time being entertained at our open house. Our home care staff and CAREGivers had a great day giving tours and connecting with clients and associates. Now, that we have this large conference room, we’re ready to welcome and educate! First topic…Alzheimer’s Disease.
Why have we chosen such difficult and sobering topic? Because it’s a reality for so many Americans, including our senior home care clients. According to the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease every 70 seconds. Yet it’s often difficult to tell if your loved one in Minneapolis has Alzheimer’s, Dementia or just has brief lapses in memory.
Dementia is the umbrella term for the variety of conditions that can cause the brain to fail. One of those is Alzheimer’s disease, which represents the majority of cases, noted Dr. Jane F. Potter, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. One thing to consider is, “Normal old age does not cause memory loss. It’s not normal when people can’t take care of daily business, such as paying bills and writing checks.” Dr. Potter said.
It’s imperative to consult a Minnesota physician to hopefully catch the disease early so following are 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s compared with typical age-related changes, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Disruption of daily live due to memory loss: Forgetting information recently attained is more common with Alzheimer’s than forgetting past events. Typical age-related change? Forgetting people’s names or appointments, but remembering them later.
- Inability to solve problems or plan: Some people may have difficulty working with numbers or are unable to plan an event or follow a sequence of events. Typical? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
- Difficulty completing tasks they do every day: Pay close attention if a senior in your life forgets the rules of their or gets lost driving to a familiar Minneapolis destination. Typical? Occasionally needing help using a microwave or recording a television show.
- Are not able to retrace steps to find misplaced items: We all lose things, right? A person with Alzheimer’s might put things in unusual places or accuse others of stealing. Typical? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses.
- Confusion with time or place: Forgetting what day it is, holidays or loses track of time. Typical? Getting confused about the day of the week, but figuring it out later.
- Trouble understanding images and spatial relationships: They may not realize they are the person in the mirror. Typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.
- Decreased or poor judgment: The inability to make a decision-making or making detrimental choices are behaviors to look for with Alzheimer’s. Typical? Making a bad decision once in a while.
- Withdrawing from work or social activities: Continuing to reject social activities, refrain from hobbies or not go to work should cause concern. Typical? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.
- Difficulty speaking or writing words: Does your loved one have trouble joining or following a conversation when they’ve been quite social in the past? Typical? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
- Changes in mood and personality: Some can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work or with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. Typical? Developing specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
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The Home Instead Senior Care® network is a corporate member of the Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Early Detection Alliance, whose goal is to educate about the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, the importance of early detection and the resources available to help them.
What to Expect with Alzheimer’s
The diagnosis is clear…a senior in your life has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease which can trigger anxiety and fear. What can someone with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis expect?
Based on Home Instead Senior Care® network research, those with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias who live at home without in-home care reported these common problems, in addition to the warning signs identified above:
- Nighttime wakefulness and other sleep problems
- Refusing to eat
- Rummaging around or hiding things
- Belligerence, anger or aggressive behavior
- Hallucinations, delusions or paranoia
Despite this grim expectation, there is hope on the horizon. “One of the promising areas under study is exercise; it appears that avid exercisers have a lower risk of dementia. So identifying people at risk and developing an activity program are among therapies being considered”, said Dr. Jane F. Potter, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “The currently available treatments are used when dementia has fully developed,” “All of the new trials are focused on early identification to target the stage before dementia – mild cognitive impairment. In the future we should be able to identify and treat people with mild cognitive impairment to keep the disease from progressing,” she said.