Identifying Alzheimer's

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How can you tell if forgetfulness is the result of normal age-related memory changes or if it's the result of something more? This is a very important distinction to make, and the earlier the better.

Text of Identifying Alzheimer's

  • 1. is it Alzheimers? brightstarcare.com
  • 2. DementiAsymptomsDementia is a general term for a decline in thinking skills or loss ofbrain function. People with dementia also experience changes in theirpersonalities and behavioral problems, such as agitation, anxiety,delusions (believing in a reality that does not exist) and hallucinations(seeing things that do not exist). The Alzheimers Association cites thefollowing as common symptoms of dementia: Loss of memory, judgment and reasoning Changes in mood, behavior and communication abilities Difficulties with speech and movement Mental confusion Inability to perform routine tasksThese symptoms may affect a persons ability to function at work, in socialrelationships or in day-to-day activities. Some treatable conditions, such asdepression, drug interactions and thyroid problems, can cause dementia.treAtmentWhen symptoms of dementia are brought upon by substance abuse orsevere depressioncalled pseudo-dementia the patients conditioncan be treated and cured. In most cases, however, dementia can only betreatednot cured. If any of the aforementioned symptoms are present,a medical assessment is the optimal plan of action to obtain a diagnosisand care plan.
  • 3. Alzheimers DiseAsesymptomsAlzheimers Disease, the most common form of dementia, is a degenerativecondition that involves progressive brain cell failure. Alzheimers is oftencharacterized by difficulty remembering, thinking and using language. In the earlystages of Alzheimers, an individual may experience lapses in memory and troublefinding the right words. According to the Alzheimers Association, symptoms mayalso include, but are not limited to: Memory loss that affects Problems with abstract thinking day-to-day function Misplacing things Difficulty performing familiar tasks Changes in mood or behavior Problems with language Changes in personality Disorientation of time and place Loss of initiative Poor or decreased judgmentAlzheimers Disease can affect different areas of the brain and, as it progresses,will impair various associated abilities. Currently, it is not known for sure if anability lost can ever be relearned. Just as each person is unique, Alzheimers Diseaseaffects patients, loved ones and caretakers differently.treAtmentIt is not fully known how to prevent or cure Alzheimers Disease, but continuedresearch will shed light on the disease and its affects on the brain. Currently,scientists are studying Alzheimers Disease from several different angles.Advances in medical genetics, pharmacologic therapy, and stem cell research holdpromise for the Alzheimers patient. All scientific research, past, present and future,serves to promote more accurate diagnoses and provide more effective care plansfor patients, loved ones and caretakers.
  • 4. Diagnosing even mild-to-moderate dementia cases can be difficult. To improve prompt diagnosis, Diana Kerwin, MD, assistantIn fact, more than half of such cases are not recognized by physicians, professor of medicine and geriatrics, offers the followingaccording to a recent review of the literature at the Medical recommendations published in a recent issue of The JournalCollege of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Family members and of Family Practice:caregivers, in addition to many physicians, often overlook a Avoid age bias when determining the need fordecline in cognitive function as well. cognitive screeningAs Baby Boomers age, the number of Alzheimers cases is Screen the vulnerable elderly, or individuals 65 years of ageexpected to surge from the already five million cases. and older who are at high risk of death or functional decline, atIncreased awareness and diagnosis will provide optimal the initial visit and annually aftercare for the aging population. Test all patients undergoing cognitive screening for depression as well
  • 5. WhAt is just Aging, AnD WhAt coulD be more? Many people find it difficult to distinguish between aging and disease, which can often be stressful and scary. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through the process: someone With Alzheimers someone With Forgets entire experiences Age-relAteD memory chAnges Forgets part of an experience Rarely remembers later Often remembers later Is gradually unable to follow written/spoken directions Is usually able to follow written/spoken directions Is gradually unable to use notes as reminders Is usually able to use notes as reminders Is gradually unable to care for self Is usually able to care for self
  • 6. post-DiAgnosissupport systemBeing diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease can flood the patient andtheir loved ones with a variety of emotions and concerns. The key to asuccessful care plan is a solid foundationa support system.According to the Alzheimers Association, friends, neighbors and extendedfamily are important sources of support for the patient and family.Having the disease, or caring for someone who does, can be challenging.BrightStar understands how difficult it can be to cope with an Alzheimersdiagnosis and can serve as a resource to families in need. BrightStar officeswork with the Alzheimer Association to continue their education aboutthe disease. Our in-home care services can offer a wide range of assistanceto meet you and your familys unique needs. Whether its relieving lovedones who are providing care from their duties or providing full-time care24 hours a day, seven days a week, BrightStar is dedicated to providingquality professionals to administer premium care to meet your needs inthe comfort of your own home.
  • 7. brought to you by brightstAr We know how overwhelming the responsibility of caring for a family member can be. We once needed help caring for a loved one, but didnt know where to turn to give her the quality of care, and the quality of life, she deserved. At BrightStar, our mission is to go above and beyond to Make More Possible more joy, more comfort, more security, more quality, more time, more peace of mind. Helping people is more than just our mission;its our passion. Its what makes us truly shine knowing that were making a real difference by bringing more to the lives of others every day. This series of eBooks contains some of the personal lessons weve learned along the way. We hope you find them helpful, and we hope they give you more more knowledge, more support, more hope as you navigate the often-challenging path toward a solution that meets your familys needs.