Research has shown that Alzheimer’s disease begins long before symptoms begin to manifest. Therefore, you need to act sooner rather than later if you suspect that your loved one may be Battling the Monster, Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are a few reasons that you should make an appointment:
- Short term memory loss. Forgetting information that has been learned very recently. This happens to the best of us at some point, but usually, we are able to recall the information. Whereas, the person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease won’t recall recently learned information.
- The inability to do a very simple and familiar task. If your dad blanks out on how to shave, use the telephone or complete a simple task in the kitchen, then you might have cause for concern.
- Misplacing things. Occasionally misplacing the keys or a purse is not cause for concern. Putting the keys away in the bathroom closet, or the can opener in the bedroom is cause for concern.
- Lack of judgment. This sometimes shows up driving or even something as simple as getting dressed. If your grandmother wants 5 layers of clothing on and its 80 degrees or she wants to go sleeveless outside in the snow, then something is wrong.
- Confusion and disorientation. We all forget the day or date from time to time or get turned around in terms of directions, so that is not what I’m talking about. If your loved one forgets where he is, where she lives, what year it is or is living in the distant past. Then, you need to get that checked out.
- Becoming easily irriated/mood swings. My mom, who was always very gentle, once grabbed a young child in church because he was running past her. THAT was way out of character for her. On the other hand, everyone gets annoyed our upset from time to time, so don’t assume cousin Ann has Alzheimer’s because she is tired and irritable and doesn’t feel like being around a lot of people.
NOTE: Dehydration, severe urinary tract or other infections and thyroid problems can cause symptoms that mimick Alzheimer’s disease.
There are other symptoms as well, but if you recognize any of these, then you’ll want to make an appointment with the family doctor, who may refer you to one or more specialists to confirm or deny your suspicions and rule out other conditions.
You sometimes have to wait to get in to see the doctor, so begin keeping a journal or log of behaviors that you consider suspect. This will help you to get a handle on how often “strange” things are happening. In addition, it will enable you to be more prepared and specific as you talk with the doctor.
Some of the information came from Alzheimer’s Association and The Help Guide (Alzheimer’s section).