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Good Afternoon. Welcome to Demystifying Alzheimer’s. I’m your hostess Mary Yamin-Garone.
In my last podcast I talked about the basic differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as the causes and symptoms of dementia.
Today I’ll cover the warning signs of Alzheimer’s and what to do if you notice these signs.
Every case of Alzheimer’s is different but people in the early stages of this disease tend to exhibit common warning signs. Some of these symptoms overlap with ordinary mental changes that occur as we age. With Alzheimer’s, symptoms typically increase gradually, becoming more and more persistent.
The following list of the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s can help you understand if memory loss is a serious health concern. There are other conditions, some that are treatable, that could be causing the signs.
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over, increasingly needing to rely on memory aids, such as reminder notes, electronic devices or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of their monthly bills. They also may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
What’s a typical age-related change? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or during leisure activities. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
What’s a typical age-related change? Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a TV show.
4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it’s not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
What’s a typical age-related change? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.
What’s a typical age-related change? 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 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. For example, calling a watch a hand-clock.
What’s a typical age-related change? 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. This may occur more frequently over time.
What’s a typical age-related change? Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.
8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
What’s a typical age-related change? 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 have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They also may avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
What’s a typical age-related change? 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 can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
What’s a typical age-related change? Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
If you notice any of these warning signs in yourself or someone you know, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. If the changes you’re seeing are more sudden, it may indicate a delirium or other physical problem that may be reversed with treatment. If the symptoms have been developing more gradually over time, it’s more likely that they’re related to a dementia, such as Alzheimer’s.
Early detection is important. It allows you to:
Get the maximum benefit from available treatments. You can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help the individual maintain a level of independence longer. You may also increase their chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research.
Have more time to plan for the future. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s allows the person to take part in decisions about care, transportation, living options, financial and legal matters. They also can participate in building the right care team and social support network.
Help for you and your loved ones. Care and support services are available, making it easier for you and your family to live the best life possible with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
I’m a caregiver myself. It’s important for all of us to not think of someone with Alzheimer’s as not having abilities. They have an ability to feel and interact and we need to try and enter into their world.
That’s all for today. Thanks for listening. I hope you found this information helpful.
Join me at 1 pm Saturday to learn about getting help for someone who has Alzheimer’s.

About Lillian Cauldwell

Own and operate an Internet Talk Radio Network for 10 years, 2005 to Present Published Author of Non-Fiction Book, 1996, "Teenagers! A Bewildered Parent's Guide. Published Author of several fiction books, 2006 "Sacred Honor" and 20010 "The Anna Mae Mysteries: The Golden Treasure." Playwright of Theater of the Absurd and Black Comedies. Screenwriter, Black Comedies