Saturday, January 14, 2012

Modern Aging: Know the 10 signs of Alzheimer's

By: SHERRY PETERSON, KATIE GILSTRAP, published in the Richmond Times dispatch on December 10
Many of us will be visiting parents and other aging family members this holiday season. And while preparing for those visits may include cooking, wrapping and packing, it also might include familiarizing yourself with the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's disease:
  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life. People with Alzheimer's often forget recently learned information.
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or tracking monthly bills
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or at leisure, such as using a microwave.Confusion with time or place. Losing track of dates, seasons and the passage of time.
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast.
  • New problems with words. Struggling with vocabulary, problems finding the right word or calling things by the wrong name.
  • Misplacing things; unable to retrace steps.
  • Decreased or poor judgment. Changes in judgment or decision-making.
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities. Removing themselves from hobbies, social activities, projects or sports.
  • Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They may develop very specific ways of doing things and become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
If you notice any of these signs, encourage your loved one to schedule a doctor's appointment as soon as possible. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or other dementias will help your loved one get the maximum benefit from available treatments as well as offer your family more time to plan for the future.
For information on Alzheimer's disease and support resources, visit


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