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/10–warning–signs