According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to 14 million. Detecting symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease as early as possible can be critical to provide appropriate care and avoid potentially dangerous situations. Family and friends can play a vital role in recognizing and calling attention to these changes in behavior, especially for older adults who live alone.
While celebrating with loved ones this past holiday season, did you notice mom or dad slowing down? Did you notice any of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia? Are you familiar with the critical warning signs so they are not overlooked?
Although many are aware that Alzheimer’s disease affects a person’s memory, there are several other lesser known indicators that commonly go unnoticed such as notable changes in mood or personality, difficulty completing familiar tasks, trouble pronouncing words or writing, and increased anxiety.
People get wrapped up in the holidays and can miss important signs that a family member needs help – and don’t even know it. Now that the holiday season is behind us and we all get back to regular activities, be mindful of the following signs a loved one is struggling.
Disruption of daily life. Is your loved one easily confused by changes to their routine? Are they beginning to forget everyday tasks like taking medication, feeding a pet or paying bills?
Unusual behaviors. Have you noticed they seem unusually agitated or upset? Does it seem like their personality has shifted? Do they seem depressed or down?
Disengaged with family. Is your loved one having a hard time remembering names of familiar family members? Does it look like their mind is going blank during conversations? Are they having trouble keeping up with topics of discussion?
Impairments in mobility and judgement. Do they seem afraid or unsure when using stairs? Do they hesitate before taking steps or going down ramps? A decline in cognitive ability can also affect the senses, impairing depth perception and hearing.
Loss of words. Does it seem they are forgetting words for everyday objects like toothbrushes, spoons or cups? Are they slow to form sentences or respond to questions?
It’s important that we walk alongside our loved ones in the aging process to ensure they are living safe and healthy lives. This new year consider the signs that may indicate early-onset or developed Alzheimer’s disease and talk to your senior relative or their primary caregiver about ways to accommodate their symptoms.
For additional tips and resources on spotting the signs of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, visit www.HelpforAlzheimersFamilies.com or, contact our Santa Rosa Alzheimer’s Association at 707- 573- 1210 or your local Home Instead Senior Care office at 707-586-1516
Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her own two parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors & caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.