Temporarily misplacing things and loosing track of time are issues that come along with aging. However, when these start to become a common occurrence that impact your daily life, it may be more than a senior moment. Memory loss that disrupts your daily life is a sign of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that leads to a slow decline in cognitive function to the point where memory and reasoning skills are affected. The disease usually has a slow onset, but can progress to affect your overall quality of life.
Here are a few signs to distinguish senior moments from dementia.
Forgetting recently learned information, such as dates or events, is the most common sign of Alzheimer’s. Temporarily forgetting names, but remembering later is a typical age related change.
As we age, we face challenges in planning and problem solving. It can also be more difficult to concentrate and take longer to complete tasks. Trouble following recipes or keeping track of monthly bills are signs of Alzheimer’s.
Even as you age you should be able to complete familiar tasks without much difficulty. With Alzheimer’s, seniors may struggle to remember rules to a favorite game or remember directions to frequently visited locations.
The difference is getting confused about days of the week, but later remembering.
Vision changes due to cataracts is an age related change. Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.
Some may struggle following or joining in conversation. It is more than having problem using the right word, it could be stopping in the middle of a conversation, repeating themselves or experiencing difficulty calling an item by the correct name.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease may lose things and be unable to retrace their steps to locate them. In some cases, they can place the objects in unusual locations or accuse others of stealing.
Changes in judgment and decision making also accompany Alzheimer’s. For example, those suffering from the disease may pay less attention to grooming habits or be less able to deal with money.
It is typical for them to also remove themselves from activities and experience changes in their personality. Those with Alzheimer’s can become confused, suspicious, fearful, depressed or anxious.
While there are a variety of warning signs of Alzheimer’s, it is important that the condition be diagnosed by a doctor to rule out other conditions such as depression, drug interaction, thyroid issues or vitamin deficiencies. When consulting with your healthcare provider it is important to be honest about the changes the senior is experiencing.
Alzheimer’s can strike at any age, but is typically associated with seniors 65 and older. To find out more about the disease, warning signs, myths, treatment and support visit the Alzheimer’s Association at http://www.alz.org/.