10 Warning Signs to Recognize Alzheimer’s Symptoms for Los Angeles Caregivers
Back in 1906, a German physician, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, examined the brain of a woman who had died from an unusual mental disorder similar to dementia. In a post-mortem autopsy, he found changes in her brain’s tissue in the form of abnormal clumps (amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (neurofibrillary tangles). These plaques and tangles are now considered the hallmarks of this form of dementia. By definition:
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility.Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.Senility is the condition of a person showing the weaknesses or diseases of old age, especially a loss of mental faculties.
In any terms, as we age so do our brains and there is no known cure for these ailments. One in three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death that cannot be prevented, slowed or cured and costs from this disease, along with other forms of dementia, cost our country $226 billion annually.
WARNING SIGNS AND DIAGNOSIS
An autopsy is the only way to definitively prove the presence of the plaques and tangled fibers mentioned previously, but there are some early warning signs and symptoms that caregivers should be looking for:
Memory loss that affects daily life such as forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same information over and over again, increasingly relying on memory aids like written notes and reminders. Difficulty solving simple problems or planning when it comes to working with numbers or following a simple recipe. Challenges with familiar tasks like remembering the rules of a favorite card game or trouble driving to a regular destination. Confusion over a particular time or place, not remembering where they are or how they got there, difficulty understanding something if it’s not happening immediately. Trouble with vision, difficulty reading or having issues that are spatially related like judging distances and correctly determining different colors or contrasts.
Conversational problems that can include difficult following or joining groups who are speaking or stopping mid-sentence and unable to continue. They could also have trouble with their vocabulary like finding the right word or calling things by a different name than what they actually are, like referring to the refrigerator as the cold box with food.
Decision making difficulties and showing signs of poor judgement like giving large sums of money to strangers or salespeople. They may also show a significant decreased interest in personal hygiene and housekeeping.
Show an inability to retrace their steps and misplace things more often than usual. As the disease progresses, they may accuse others of stealing or deliberately hiding these items. Withdrawing from their usual social activities, a decline in their interest towards their favorite hobbies and less regular communication with their friends and family members. Changes in mood and personality that are out of the norm, increased anxiety, depression, overly suspicious or fearful. They may become more easily upset, especially in situations or environments that are outside their comfort zone.
If your loved one seems to be exhibiting more of these signs, you should seek medical attention for them. And if you are having trouble caring for a loved one who may be suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, please contact us today. We can help with more information on our website and discuss affordable options for care and companionship.