How Do I Know if It’s Alzheimer’s Disease?
Everyone misplaces their car keys, eye glasses, or wallet occasionally. For those individuals who are age 60 or older, it may seem like these occurrences happen more frequently. But how do you know when forgetfulness is really an indicator of something more serious, such as Alzheimer’s disease?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that as of 2013, 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease and that this number is projected to triple by the year 2050. With the numbers of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease growing so rapidly, it’s important to be aware of changes in behavior as you age, and to report them to your health care provider for early intervention.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive disease that typically starts with mild memory loss and evolves into more significant cognitive impairment over time. So how can you know when, or if, small lapses in memory are actually signs of early dementia? The only way to be certain is to visit your health care provider for a thorough examination. However, these questions from the National Institute on Aging may help you more thoroughly evaluate your history, as you prepare for your meeting with your doctor:
- Do you find it hard to remember things?
- Do you find yourself asking the same questions over and over?
- Are you having trouble paying your bills on time?
- Do you frequently get lost?
- Do you regularly lose things, or find that you’ve put them in strange (out of the ordinary) places?
More advanced dementia may be easier to spot, as common signs include forgetting how to do everyday tasks like brushing your teeth or combing your hair, forgetting names of common items like a pencil or plate, becoming easily confused about time, people, or places, or wandering away from home. If you, or a loved one, are experiencing later signs of dementia, you should consult your physician immediately. Early intervention can help improve your quality of life significantly.
For more information, read through this Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet published by the National Institute on Aging, visit your primary care physician, or call Acti-Kare Responsive In-Home Care to see what caretaking services are available in your area. Our caregivers can offer companionship and support to individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and help with activities of daily living, such as bill paying, medication reminders, transportation to/from doctor’s appointments, and more. To locate the nearest Acti-Kare office, call 888-451-KARE (5273) today.
1 Hebert LE, Weuve J, Scherr PA, Evans DL. Alzheimer disease in the United States (2010–2050) estimated using the 2010 census. Neurology. 2013;80:1778-83.
2 Xu J, Kochanek KD, Sherry L, Murphy BS, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: final data for 2007. National vital statistics reports; vol. 58, no. 19. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2010.