What are the symptoms of Alzheimers?
The Alzheimer’s Association has developed a list of warning signs that include common symptoms of Alzheimers disease (some also apply to other dementing illnesses). Individuals who exhibit several of these symptoms should see a physician for a complete examination.
Memory loss that affects job skills. It’s normal to occasionally forget an assignment, deadline or colleague’s name, but frequent forgetfulness or unexplainable confusion at home or in the workplace may signal that something’s wrong.
Difficulty performing familiar tasks. Busy people get distracted from time to time. For example, you might leave something on the stove too long or not remember to serve part of a meal. People with Alzheimer’s might prepare a meal and not only forget to serve it, but also forget they made it.
Problems with language. Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words, making his or her sentences difficult to understand.
Disorientation to time and place. It’s normal to momentarily forget the day of the week or what you need from the store. But people with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing where they are, how they got there or how to get back home.
Poor or decreased judgment. Choosing not to bring a sweater or coat along on a chilly night is a common mistake. A person with Alzheimer’s, however, may dress inappropriately in more noticeable ways, wearing a bathrobe to the store or several blouses on a hot day.
Problems with abstract thinking. Balancing a checkbook can be challenging for many people, but for someone with Alzheimer’s, recognizing numbers or performing basic calculation may be impossible.
Misplacing things. Everyone temporarily misplaces a wallet or keys from time to time. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put these and other items in inappropriate places – such as an iron in the freezer, or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl – then not recall how they got there.
Changes in mood or behavior. Everyone experiences a broad range of emotions – it’s part of being human. People with Alzheimer’s tend to exhibit more rapid mood swings for no apparent reason.
Changes in personality. People’s personalities may change somewhat as they age. But a person with Alzheimer’s can change dramatically, either suddenly or over a period of time. Someone who is generally easy going may become angry, suspicious or fearful.
Loss of initiative. It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities, or social obligations, but most people retain or eventually regain their interest. The person with Alzheimer’s disease may remain disinterested and uninvolved in many or all of his usual pursuits.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the only national voluntary health organization dedicated to research for the causes, cures, treatments and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and to providing education and support services to affected individuals and those who provide their care.
Although many Assisted Living communities and nursing homes cater to individuals with Alzheimers disease and other related memory disorders or dementia, there is a growing trend towards facilities that provide specialized care and housing tailored to the special needs of individuals with this disease.
Care that fosters residents’ individual skills and interests in an environment that helps to diminish confusion and agitation is what sets these facilities apart. Specialty services are provided in a secure environment, such as activity programs designed to include reality orientation classes and specially trained professional staff skilled in handling the behavior associated with memory impairments.
Many facilities that specialize in Alzheimer’s or related dementia disorders have building design features that assist with the problems associated with this disease: color-coded hallways, visual cues, and secure wandering paths for additional security.
Similar to Assisted Living communities, most provide assistance with dressing, grooming, bathing, and other daily activities. Assistance with medications differs according to state regulations. Meals, laundry and housekeeping are usually provided within private and semi-private rooms in a residential type setting
The Alzheimer’s Association National Headquarters
919 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60611-1676
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