The National Alzheimer’s Association has developed a very helpful list of warning signs that assist families and individuals determine if they might be experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or one of the other dementias. If you or your loved one is experiencing 3 or more of these behaviors, and they are NEW behaviors, you should contact your doctor for an evaluation. Take a look at this list to see what new behaviors might apply to you.
- MEMORY LOSS ~ Forgetting information that is part of your every day life. Repetitive questions and comments.
- PROBLEM SOLVING ~ Difficulty with planning events; Numbers – Distinguishing money; Balancing checkbook.
- DAILY TASKS ~ Can no longer remember how to do tasks: Preparing meals; Following a recipe; Mowing the lawn.
- CONFUSION WITH TIME AND PLACE ~ Missing appointments; Getting lost when driving or walking; Late to work; Making lists and forgetting about the list.
- VISUAL IMAGES AND SPACIAL RELATIONSHIPS ~ Difficulty reading and/or understanding signs (STOP signs & STOP lights); Judging distances.
- WORD FINDING ~ Can’t remember or understand words; Difficulty following conversations.
- MISPLACING ITEMS ~ Hiding items; Inability to retrace steps to locate items; Accuses others of stealing items.
- POOR JUDGEMENT ~ Makes questionable decisions; Vulnerable to scams; Mishandles money.
- PERSONALITY CHANGES ~ Mood swings; Paranoid; Fearful; Depressed.
- ISOLATION ~ Withdraws from friends and family; Doesn’t participate in social activities.
We know that physical changes begin to take place in the brain 15-20 years before there are any symptoms or visible behaviors. There are medications that can assist people in the early stages of the disease with behavior management.. however medications DO NOT slow down the progression of the disease or cure it.
If you are having difficulties with any of the above, please contact your doctor. Sooner is always better than later.