A Message from Halton Chapter Partner Home Instead Senior Care

Information posted January 20, 2013


Alzheimer’s disease: what  is and what  isn’t? It’s sometimes difficult to tell.

Dementia is the  umbrella term  for  the variety of conditions that  can cause the  brain to fail; Aizheimer’s disease  is the  most common form  of dementia.

According to the Alzheimer  Society  of Canada, following are 10 warning  signs* of Alzheimer’s compared with what are  typical age-related changes

1.  Memory loss that affects day-to-day function: It’s normal  to occasionally forget appointments, colleagues’ names or  a friend’s phone number  and  remember them  later.A person  with Alzheimer’s disease  may forget things more  often and not  remember them  later, especially things that have happened more  recently.

2.  Difficulty performing familiar tasks: Busy people can be so distracted from  time to time that  they  may leave the  carrots on the  stove  and only remember to serve  them  at the end of a meal. A person  with Alzheimer’s  disease  may have trouble with tasks  that  have been familiar to them  all their lives, such as preparing a meal.

3.  Problems with language: Everyone  has trouble finding the  right word  sometimes, but a person  with Alzhei mer’s disease  may forget  simple words or  substitute words, making her sentences difficult to understand.

4.  Disorientation of time and place: It’s normal  to forget the  day of the week  or your destination — for a moment. But people  with Alzheimer’s disease  can become lost on their  own street, not  knowing  how they got  there or  how  to get  home.

5.  Poor or decreased judgment: People may sometimes put off going to a doctor if  they  have an infection, but eventually seek  medical attention.A person  with Alzheimer’s  disease  may have decreased judgment, for example not  recognizing a medical problem  that  needs  attention or wearing  heavy clothing on a hot  day.

6.  Problems with abstract thinking: From time  to time, people  may have difficulty with tasks that  require  abstract thinking, such as balancing a cheque book. Someone with Alzheimer’s  disease may have significant difficulties with such tasks, for example  not  recognizing what the  numbers in the cheque book  mean.

7.  Misplacing things: Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or  keys.A person  with Alzheimer’s disease  may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer or  a wristwatch in the sugar  bowl.

8.  Changes in mood and behaviour: Everyone becomes sad or  moody  from  time  to time. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease  can exhibit  varied mood  swings — from  calm to tears to anger — for  no apparent reason.

9.  Changes in personality: People’s personalities can change somewhat with age. But a person  with Alzheimer’s  disease  can become confused, suspicious or  withdrawn. Changes  may also include apathy, fearfulness or acti ng out  of character.

IO.Loss of initiative: It’s normal  to tire of housework, business activities or  social obligations, but most  people  regain their  initiative.A  person  with Alzheimer’s disease  may become very passive, and require cues and prompting to become involved.

* Source: alzheimer.ca /en/About-dementia/Alzheimer’s-disease /Warning-signs-and­symptoms/10warningsigns