Warning signs of Alzheimer’s dementia

HAGAMAN — Home Helpers of Amsterdam offers tips on the warning signs of Alzheimer’s dementia in a news release.

Currently, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. As the most common form of dementia, it is estimated that those numbers will continue to rise to as high as 16 million people affected by 2050. These figures from the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) are shocking, with someone developing the disease every 66 seconds.

While there is currently no cure, early diagnosis has many advantages, including a better chance of benefitting from treatment, more time to make choices to maximize the quality of life, and more time to plan for the future. With that in mind, it’s important to know the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s:

∫ Memory Loss that disrupts daily life: One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is forgetting recently learned information. Another is forgetting important dates and events, such as birthdays or anniversaries, or asking for the same information time and time again.

∫Challenges in planning or solving problems: Is your loved one having trouble remembering simple mathematical equations or following recipes? If it is taking them longer than normal to complete certain problem-solving tasks, it may be a warning sign of Alzheimer’s.

∫Difficulty completing familiar tasks: Pay attention to your loved one’s driving abilities. Those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have trouble driving to a familiar location or remembering how to get home. Other signs include trouble remembering regular tasks that they always do at a specific time or the rules of a favorite game.

∫Confusion with time or place: Those with Alzheimer’s may lose track of time or the passing of seasons. They may also have difficulty knowing where they are or how they got there.

∫Trouble understanding visual images: Though vision problems are associated with aging process, they could also be signs of Alzheimer’s. Does your loved one have problems reading or determining colors? Do they ever mistake their reflection in the mirror as someone else? If so, speak to their doctor immediately.

∫New problems with writing and speaking: Alzheimer’s patients may have trouble participating in conversations. Pay attention to the way you talk to them on the phone or in person. Do they suddenly stop in the middle of the conversation and ask what the conversation is about? They may also struggle with vocabulary or have problems finding the right word.

∫Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: Your loved one may be showing signs of Alzheimer’s if they are suddenly putting things in unusual places. For example, do the keys end up in the freezer? Do you find that your loved one is blaming others for taking things when the household item was sitting right in front of them all along?

∫Decreased or poor judgment: People with Alzheimer’s may have a drastic change in judgment. They may have always been good with money, but all of a sudden, you find they are giving away large sums. It is also important to pay attention to their hygiene. Have they lost interest in showering and brushing their teeth?

∫Withdrawal from work or social activities: Those with Alzheimer’s may start to isolate themselves from their everyday social activities, hobbies, work projects or sports. Losing interest in a favorite sports team or longtime hobby could be another indicator. They may also be self-conscious about the changes they are experiencing.

∫Changes in mood and personality: Someone with Alzheimer’s can have a significant personality change. They may become suspicious, confused, depressed, anxious or fearful, especially in situations outside of their comfort zone.

If you notice a loved one exhibiting these signs, it’s important to share that information quickly with their doctor. The Alzheimer’s Association also has a Doctor’s Appointment Checklist available on its website that you can complete ahead of time to help with the diagnosis.

Home Helpers Home Care understands the issues affecting families facing Alzheimer’s. Providing care for the loved one with the disease can be emotional and stressful. Should you decide to bring in a caregiver to help, Home Helpers of Amsterdam will work with you to find the right person for your loved one and tailor a care plan that best meets the needs of the family.

“We understand every situation is unique and we’ll work to find the best match between client and caregiver,” said Ramon Rodriguez, CEO of Home Helpers of Amsterdam.

“We can also assist or supplement a family caregiver should they need a break. We work with you to develop the best care plan to meet your family’s needs.”

Home Helpers provides a free consultation upon request to discuss tailoring an in-home care plan. “Our vision is to be the extended family when the family can’t be there by delivering the same exceptional care we would want for our own loved one,” said owner Maria Rodriguez. “We take this seriously and would love to work with you to design a plan that meets your needs and budget.”

To find out more about Home Helpers and Direct Link of Amsterdam’s services, visit its expanded location at the recently renovated former YMCA building, 58 N. Pawling St., Hagaman, call (518) 842-5626, or go to www.HomeHelpersHomeCare.com/Amsterdam.

By Josh Bovee

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