Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time. Although symptoms can vary widely, the first problem many people notice is forgetfulness severe enough to affect their ability to function at home or at work, or to enjoy lifelong hobbies. The disease may cause a person to become confusing, lost in familiar places, misplace things or have trouble with language. It can be easy to explain away unusual behavior as part of normal aging, especially for someone who seems physically healthy.
Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and as many as 16 million will have the disease in 2050. The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated to total $214 billion in 2014, increasing to $1.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) by mid-century. It is expected that from 2014 to 2020 the percentage of seniors living with Alzheimer’s will increase by 21% and by another 50% in 2025.
It is important to understand the symptoms of someone suffering with Alzheimer’s disease.
Our brains age as the rest of our bodies do. Some memory loss is normal, however serious memory loss and confusion may not be normal. For example, a sign of Alzheimer’s may be losing track of the date or the season. A sign of normal age-related changes may be forgetting which day it is and remembering later.
One may find these normal day-to-day activities, such as baking or balancing a checkbook, extremely difficult. They may have a hard time concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. People with Alzheimer’s disease often find it hard to complete daily tasks.
Confusion with time or place:
People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
Difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, are all common symptoms. These can cause problems with driving.
People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a watch a "hand clock").
A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual place. They may lose things and be unable to retrace their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decision making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
The mood and personality of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
Assisted living facility is often necessary
It is important to remember that help from an assisted living facility is often necessary. Here at Bel Aire Senior Living, we have an activities coordinator that specializes with those who have Alzheimer's. She works on providing care tailored specifically to the individual. With this individualized care, these symptoms become manageable so you and your loved one are able to put the disease aside and enjoy your time together. We feel privileged to provide Alzheimer's Care in Utah County to your loved ones.