Nov 23, 2017 by Glenn Savage
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. In the United States, Alzheimer's currently affects between 5 and 6 million seniors over the age of 65, the demographic with the largest number of sufferers. This number is expected to grow exponentially over the next few decades.
Alzheimer's disease slowly destroys a senior’s memory and critical thinking skills. It also erodes their language, spatial awareness, and motor functions. Seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's can still maintain a large degree of independence, but in the later stages of the disease, individuals are unable to care for themselves and require round-the-clock assistance to remain safe. Even eating and toileting become impossible without support. In the United States, November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month. During this month, seniors and their families are encouraged to become familiar with the warning signs of Alzheimer's disease. In honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Comfort Keepers has compiled a list of common warning signs.
While there is no cure, currently, for Alzheimer's disease, early intervention and therapy can greatly enhance the quality of a senior's life, while maximizing their freedom, independence, and ability to remain in the comfort of their own home. Early intervention starts with identification and diagnosis.
The most common warning sign is memory loss. This is not the standard "senior moment" or occasional memory lapse. Alzheimer's-related memory loss is progressive and noticeable. It also follows a typical pattern. Initially, a senior may have trouble recalling the names of people and places. Later, they may have difficulty remembering where they are or performing everyday tasks, like how to turn the faucet or oven off.
Seniors with early-stage Alzheimer's often misplace items as well. This is more than simply not being able to find the remote control or car keys. In this case, the remote or keys may have ended up in the freezer, bathroom, microwave, or sock drawer. If common items start to end up in odd places, this should be discussed with the senior's physician.
Among the most visible of the early-onset signs is a neglect of personal hygiene and housekeeping. Seniors may not bath, do the dishes, or wash their clothes for days or weeks. Beyond memory lapses, Alzheimer's causes people to make poor or irrational decisions. This may also manifest in conversational statements that make no sense or are completely out of character or context.
With early identification and diagnosis, seniors can take advantage of Comfort Keepers dementia and Alzheimer's care as well as many other interventions designed to combat this terrible disease.
For more information about Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's Awareness Month, or the many ways Comfort Keepers can help your senior loved one maximize their quality of life, contact a senior care coordinator today.
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