703-329-0900

Is it Alzheimer’s disease?

When your father struggles to remember a grandchild’s name, should you be concerned? Older adults typically have some memory loss. People with Alzheimer’s disease, however, experience very specific changes in their thinking that go beyond the normal forgetfulness of aging.

 

You might consider a dementia evaluation if your loved one has begun having difficulty with the following:

  • Remembering new things. Do you have to give the same information over and over again?
  • Dealing with numbers and logical thinking. Is Dad fumbling with the checkbook? Having trouble with a favorite card game?
  • Familiar activities. Is Mom leaving ingredients out of favorite recipes? Skipping steps?
  • Understanding the passage of time. Do you have to remind your loved one of the season or year?
  • Changes in vision. Does Dad have trouble judging distances? Does he get easily lost or disoriented, not recognizing familiar places?
  • Carrying on a conversation. Is Mom repeating herself or seeming to make up words? Do her answers in a conversation not make sense with the topic?
  • Losing things. Are you finding things put in odd places?
  • Poor decision making. Is Dad spending money on unusual purchases? Do you have to convince Mom to bathe?
  • Socializing or doing hobbies. Has Mom given up a favorite hobby or withdrawn from a group of friends?
  • Staying calm. Is your loved one suddenly moody? Perhaps anxious or irritable?

 

Any one of these changes in behavior could signal the beginning of a more serious memory problem, or not. That is why it’s important to have your loved one checked out by a physician.

  • It may not be Alzheimer’s. A number of reversible conditions look like Alzheimer’s. With proper diagnosis and treatment, these symptoms disappear.
  • If it is Alzheimer’s, there are benefits to detecting it as early as possible. Medications are available that slow the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Other medications may help relieve moodiness.

 

For more information about what’s normal and what’s not, check out the Alzheimer’s Association’s in-depth description of the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s.

 

Are you worried?
As the Northern Virginia experts in aging well, we at Senior Care Management Services understand how troubling the thought of Alzheimer’s can be. We can help you get a proper evaluation. Give us a call at 703-329-0900.

What Would You Do?

This is a question I hear fairly frequently. Family caregivers come to me looking for solutions to their caregiving challenges, and often this question surfaces. “If this were you, what would you do?”

Recently, I was reminded of this question after attending a one day conference with Teepa Snow, a national expert in communicating with those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It was a day I will not soon forget. She was engaging, interesting, entertaining, and so very informative. I could not get over how many notes I took, as she showed the large audience many techniques in having a successful communication with their dementia and Alzheimer’s patients or family members.

So, if someone came to me looking to understand how to communicate with their loved one who has Alzheimer’s, I would share what I know, and I would also recommend they look online for Teepa Snow. She is the most informative expert I know of in this area of Alzheimer’s.

Here is a link to her website. Be sure to check it out.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month

Each September, the Alzheimer’s Disease International releases a report of the status of Alzheimer’s Disease throughout the world. This year, their report was entitled “The Global Impact of Dementia.” In it, they document the global prevalence, incidence, cost and trends of dementia in the world today. Some interesting facts include:

  • In 2015, there are estimated to be 46.8 million people worldwide who are living with dementia.
  • This number is expected to double every 20 years, and will reach 131.5 million in 2050.
  • Throughout the world, there is estimated to be one new case of dementia every 3.2 seconds, or 9.9 million news cases.
  • Of the number of new cases of dementia:
    • 4.9 million are in Asia
    • 2.5 million are in Europe
    • 1.7 million are in the Americas
    • 0.8 million are in Africa.
  • The global cost of dementia care is $818 billion in 2015, and will reach $2 trillion by 2030.
  • Global dementia care, if it were a country, would be the 18th largest economy in the world.

These are pretty grim statistics, especially in light of the fact that there is no effective treatment, no cure, and no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, if you are inclined to take part in the fight against Alzheimer’s or dementia, there are studies you can volunteer for. Even if you do not have a personal or family history of these diseases, you may be needed in a study. If interested, contact the NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center at 1-800-438-4380 or visit www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/clinical-trials.

Tips for Working with Caregiving Aides

David Troxel, the well-known author of the “Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care,” and an Alzheimer’s caregiver himself, tells a story of how he taught his mother’s caregiving aides how to prepare afternoon tea.

This article first appeared at BrightFocus.org and can be read in its entirety here.

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month – Know the Seven Tips for Successful Aging

 

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and it creates a good time to stop and learn what we can do to improve our awareness of the disease, as well as to increase our chance of improved brain (and heart) health for a lifetime.  The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has a colorful poster style graphic on just what we can do throughout our life for successful aging.  Good brain and heart health practices last a lifetime, and may help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s, other dementias, and cardiovascular diseases.  And of course, healthy practices feel better too.