Misplacing the car keys. Forgetting the name of someone you know you’ve met before. Confusing today’s date with yesterday’s. Could these be signs of Alzheimer’s disease?
Since June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we at Hearts at Home In-Home Care, the Alzheimer’s care experts in Kansas City, wanted to help you differentiate between some of the normal aspects of aging, such as mild forgetfulness, and those that may point to the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
First of all, it’s important to note that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of growing older. It’s a disease that gradually causes cognitive decline, impacting reasoning and judgment, thinking and memory. Its hallmark symptoms can include any or all of the following, in varying degrees of intensity:
- Overall Sense of Confusion. Beyond forgetting momentarily what day it is (and then realizing the correct date on your own), those with Alzheimer’s can struggle with the concept of time and place beyond what’s happening in the present moment. They may also confuse commonly used words and phrases; for example, unable to think of the word “comb,” they may instead call it a “hair fork.”
- Short-Term Memory Loss. While we all forget an appointment or a person’s name at times, the memory loss in Alzheimer’s is often focused mostly on short-term memories, with long-term memories remaining intact into the later stages of the disease. One key red flag is repetition of speech – telling the same story again and again.
- Mood Changes. An older person who has, for the most part, been cheerful and agreeable throughout his or her life may begin to become depressed, suspicious, and anxious, particularly when in unfamiliar settings or situations.
- Problems with Routine Tasks. When someone has enjoyed a certain card game for years and suddenly is unable to remember the rules, is unsure how to operate a once-familiar washing machine or dishwasher, or can no longer follow the instructions to prepare a favorite recipe, Alzheimer’s may be at play.
When warning signs of Alzheimer’s are suspected, it’s essential that an appointment be made with the senior’s physician for further testing and to determine the best plan of care.
If an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is determined, Hearts at Home In-Home Care can help. Our specially trained dementia caregivers are on hand with expert, compassionate care to assist with managing the more challenging aspects of the disease, partnering with families to provide much-needed respite care. We help ensure that seniors with Alzheimer’s are safe and enjoying the highest possible quality of care at all times.
Whether you need assistance with implementing individualized activities to improve quality of life, or help with some of the more task-oriented aspects of care, such as meal preparation, housework, laundry, and running errands, allowing you to spend more quality time with your loved one, you can count on Hearts at Home In-Home Care. Contact us any time at 913-440-4209 to learn more.