November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Month. Designated by President Reagan in 1983, it’s a time to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s and it’s symptoms. Alzheimer’s primarily affects the elderly and there are several symptoms and early warning signs to be aware of. If someone you love is showing some of these signs you should consult a doctor immediately.
Memory loss. Memory loss is the main, and most confusing early sign of Alzheimer’s. Aging can lead to mis-remembering things from the past, and stress and other factors can cause memory loss. However when the memory loss becomes more sustained and more frequent it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s. How can you tell the difference? If a member of your family forgets one part of the conversation you just had, like forgetting to take out the trash, that’s one thing. However when the person doesn’t remember the entire conversation happening, that’s a more serious sign.
Withdrawing. A person developing Alzheimer’s may become more apathetic about activities they use to love. It’s not a memory issue, according to most Alzheimer’s health professionals, but a deliberate change that grows into indifference. If every Thursday was bingo night that your mom or dad used to enjoy, and all of a sudden they stop going without explanation, it could be a sign of a serious condition.
Mood swings. Alzheimer’s can cause a certain amount of anxiety and agitation that will cause the person inflicted to lash out and change moods frequently. You will notice the person is more agitated not by just mood, but by actions. The person may pace around or become nervous. Sudden life changes, like a move to a nursing home or a death in the family, can enhance the agitation, causing the person to go from tears of sadness to tears of joy in an instant.
Confusion. Alzheimer’s can cause a person to become confused about basic time and dates. The person may not remember what season it is, and forget a time to take a pill. In more serious cases a person with Alzheimer’s may even forget the decade they are in. In some cases the person will remember the correct day/time/etc. In those cases that is a normal sign of aging. But if the person stays unaware they may be developing Alzheimer’s.
Familiar tasks are difficult. We all have hobbies and things we do with no problem. Someone may be a wiz in the kitchen, but if Alzheimer’s is starting to set in, they may forget how to prepare their favorite recipes. Someone who used to be good about balancing the check book may find the numbers are off. Another person may forget how to get to their favorite barber or hair dresser. All of these things should be watched closely by loved ones.
Alzheimer’s can take away a person’s independence by taking away their ability to get through daily life. These are just a few signs to look for in someone you love. For more health tips and to learn about our air ambulance services please like us on Facebook.