It may be hard to know the difference between age-related changes and the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Ask yourself: Is this something new? For example, if the person was never good at balancing a checkbook, struggling with this task is probably not a warning sign. But if their ability to balance a checkbook has changed a lot, it is something to share with a doctor.
Some people may recognize changes in themselves before any else notices. Other times, friends and family will be the first to observe changes in the person’s memory, behavior or abilities. To help, the Alzheimer’s Association has created this list of warning signs for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Individuals may experience one or more of these in different degrees. If you notice any of them, please see a doctor.
Your memory often changes as you grow older. But memory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging. It may be a symptom of dementia. Dementia is a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a fatal disorder that results in the loss of brain cells and function.
This list can help you recognize the warning signs of Alzheimer’s:
1. Memory changes that disrupt daily life
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
4. Confusion with time or place
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8. Decreased or poor judgment
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
10. Changes in mood and personality
Source: Alzheimer’s Association
We had a speaker in October about Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. She was very informative and thought-provoking. She helped us realize that there is no support group in St. Clair County south of Port Huron and that there is a real need for one. We have a few people in our congregation who are interested in remedying this situation. We will be meeting to formulate a plan to begin a community Alzheimer’s Support Group, to meet in our building, hopefully to begin in January. We will have times and dates to share in the near future. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors and we will be getting the word out to our local media resources. We are communicating with the Alzheimer’s Association regarding this project. If you are interested in being involved, please let me know.
Your Parish Nurse,
Mary Ann Martin, RN, FCN