"People with Alzheimer’s may demonstrate unusual changes"
Sometimes we have to be able to differentiate between News and Hype. Organizations looking for traffic on their channels and websites may give in to the tendency to Hype something that is really not so big. An example can be the weather. My wife and I get a kick out of some of the TV weather reporters and their breaking news about terrible snow storms, torrential rains and such. Get real, it’s Michigan.
Same comes when we consider senior health and caregiving. Just got an email from the Alzheimer's Association with a graphic about the ‘Ten Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease’ for ‘Early Detection’. Really, just ten? However giving credit where due, the pages did also explain with each of the Ten Warning Signs, ten Normal Aspects of ageing that are typical. So, which is hype and which is normal?
We just have to be reasonable and always be aware of our own changes and those of we care for.
Here are the basics of the Ten “Early Detection Signs” page I received:
1. Memory changes that disrupt daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. For example: Asking for the same information over and over. – Normal Ageing: Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. – Normal Ageing: Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks such as: Driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering the rules of a favorite game. – Normal Ageing: Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or record a television show.
4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. – Normal Ageing: Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Some people may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. – Normal Ageing: Vision changes related to cataracts.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary; have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name. – Normal Ageing: Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. – Normal Ageing: Misplacing things from time to time.
8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may demonstrate unusual changes in judgment or decision making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers – Normal Ageing: Making a bad decision once in a while.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. – Normal Ageing: Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.
10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They may be easily upset in places where they are out of their comfort zone – Normal Ageing: Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
Finally, the page concluded:
If you notice any of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's in yourself or someone you know, don't ignore them. Please consult your physician.
OK. Any of the 10 Warning Signs! Any! And what about the Normal Ageing stuff? Should we call a nurse for that?
Seriously, as I said at the start, we really do have to be careful to distinguish between the hype and just normal things about ageing. Point is to always be aware of changes and take notice when thouse changes start to stack up beyond what is 'normal'.
Finally here is a link to the graphic the Alzheimer's Association emailed me. They kindly asked me to share it with you.
Know The Signs pdf (1.7MB) View / Download