Monday, September 17, 2012

Are You Losing Your Mind? Watch Out for These 10 Symptoms of Alzheimer's

For the past 5 months, I've lived with an elderly woman who's showing definite symptoms of Alzheimer's. For the purpose of this article, I will call her Anna.

How do I know Anna is showing signs of Alzheimer's?

The Alzeimer's Association web site describes 10 early symptoms of Alzheimer's and states that "if you notice any of them, please a doctor."

Here are the 10 warning signs (according to the web site mentioned above) and the actual behavior I have observed:

1.  Memory Loss that disrupts daily life.
Anna forgets doctor's appointments, has missed her daughter's birthday, and repeatedly asks the date of upcoming events.

2.  Challenges in planning or solving problems.
Anna can no longer balance her own checkboook or follow recipes. It takes her a long time to prepare a simple salad.

3.  Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
Several times in the past few months Anna has driven to a familiar shopping area and could not find her way home. The first time she drive 40 miles in the wrong direction. The second time she could not find her way home even though she was less than a mile away.

4.  Confusion with time or place.
Just recently, Anna was told many times that she would leave on a trip at 6:30 A.M.the next morning.  At 4:00 A.M., Anna was dressed and woke up the entire household announcing that it was time to leave.

5.  Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
I have not observed any examples with vision, color, or distance - but then, I will not ride in a car when she is driving. Would you?

6.  New problems with words in speaking or writing.
When Anna cannot remember a specific word as she is speaking, she creates a description or a new word.

7.  Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
In the past few months, Anna accused other people of taking her car keys, the garage door opener, and the back door key. All these items eventually were found in her possession. She constantly misplaces documents.

8.  Decreased or poor judgment.
I have not observed this symptom directly except that Anna believes our dogs can eat any kind of people food, a belief that has caused a few dog mishaps.

9.  Withdrawal from work or social activities.
Anna interacts mainly with family members and engages in minimal social activities.

10. Changes in mood and personality.
Anna is frequently agitated and expresses anger by yelling. Her interactions are often confrontational and argumentative.

Unfortunately, Anna is experiencing problems coping with everyday life which might be caused by Alzheimer's. But she refuses to acknowledge that she is having problems and will not seek help.

Note that the Alzheimer's Association article does mention normal behavior in each of the areas described above. The article link is here.

If you are interested in preventing or stopping memory loss, please read this article:
Stop Memory Loss Now.

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