Everyone loses their keys or forgets why they walked into a room every so often. However, Alzheimers is not a normal part of the aging process. It significantly impairs both intellectual ability and memory ability to such a degree that it affects everyday life. Alzheimer’s accounts for over half of all dementia cases.
There are some early signs of Alzheimers that you should be on the lookout for if you are concerned about your loved one’s memory loss:
- Difficulty remembering things that just happened. Also problems keeping track of dates and relying on family members to schedule their lives for them.
- Struggling to plan ahead or to solve problems, for example, maths problems and monthly bill calculations.
- Losing track of time. Alzheimers sufferers struggle with anything that isn’t happening right now and they may also forget where they are.
- Misplacing things. Putting things where they don’t belong and sometimes even accusing other people of stealing their possessions.
- Poor decision making. Stopping personal grooming or giving away money are common symptoms.
- Struggling with conversations. Repetition of the same stories or not being able to follow a conversation. Sufferers may also start to have trouble with their vocabulary.
- Trouble completing familiar tasks. For example not being able to cook a meal they have cooked hundreds of times before or not being able to drive.
- Withdrawal from work or social situations.
If you are concerned that your loved one may have Alzheimers, it’s important to start talking about it as early as possible. It’s important to acknowledge that the conversation may not go well! Your loved one may become defensive or dismissive when you bring up your concerns and you may need to speak with them multiple times. It’s important that you don’t get angry and that you speak to them with compassion.
An early Alzheimer’s diagnosis means that better treatment options will be available, which will mean that your loved one is able to live independently for longer. Therefore, it’s important to get them to a doctor as early as possible.
Once you have a diagnosis, speak with your health care provider to understand what the likely trajectory of the illness will be. For example, will your loved one begin to lose mobility, how long are they likely to be able to keep living independently and what assistance will they need?
Doing your research as early as possible will help to ease your mind and it means that you can involve your loved one in planning out their care. For example, if you wanted to take advantage of a specialist memory centered care provider like Belmont assisted living Fort Lauderdale, starting early would give you enough time to take your loved one to the facility and decide whether they thought it was right for them. If you wait until their illness has progressed then you won’t be able to involve them as much, which can make a much more distressing situation.
Be very clear with your loved one that you are there for them throughout the journey. Attend doctors appointments with them and talk through the results and most importantly allow them to be sad about it. Your job is just to be there.