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How To Tell If You Have Alzheimer’s

Alzheimers Behaviors To Track

How Do You Know If You Have Alzheimer Disease

For each of these behaviors, try to make note of the following:

  • Whether theres been a decline or change compared to the way your parent used to be
  • Whether this seems to be due to memory and thinking, versus physical limitations such as pain, shortness of breath or physical disabilities
  • When you or another person first noticed problems, and what you observed
  • What kinds of problems you see your parent having now

If you dont notice a problem in any of the following eight areas, make a note of this. That way youll know you didnt just forget to consider that behavior.

Have you noticed:

  • Signs of poor judgment? This means behaviors or situations that suggest bad decisions. Examples include worrisome spending, or not noticing a safety issue others are concerned about.
  • Reduced Interest in Leisure Activities? This means being less interested and involved in ones usual favorite hobbies and activities. You should especially pay attention if there isnt a physical health issue interfering with doing the activity.
  • Repeating Oneself? Has your parent started repeating questions or stories more than he used to?
  • Difficulty Learning to Use Something New? Common examples include having trouble with a new kitchen appliance or gadget. This can be a tricky one to decide on, given that gadgets become more complicated every year. But if youve noticed anything, jot it down.
  • Mood Or Personality Changes

    Someone with Alzheimers disease may start to experience a low mood. They may feel irritable, confused, anxious, or depressed. They may also lose interest in things they used to enjoy.

    They may become frustrated with their symptoms or feel unable to understand the changes taking place. This may present as aggression or irritability toward others.

    Encourage Them To See Their Doctor

    If youve noticed that someone close to you is showing symptoms of dementia, its important to encourage them to see their doctor to talk through whats been going on.

    Talking to someone about changes youve noticed in them can be difficult. It can help to have the conversation in a space where both of you are comfortable, are able to hear each other clearly and speak freely. Health Direct recommends starting the conversation by talking about what youve noticed and the other common reasons this might be happening. For example, you might say youve noticed the person has had trouble with their memory recently, and ask if theyve been stressed or not sleeping well. Then you can suggest that its time to see a doctor to find out whats happening.

    If you dont have a close relationship with the person, you might talk to someone who knows them well about what youve noticed, see if theyve noticed the same things and ask them to bring it up with the person.

    If a person remains resistant to following up about changes in their memory or behaviour, Dementia Australia recommends finding a different, physical reason to encourage the person to see the doctor, like an overall physical check-up, a blood pressure test or diabetes check. You can see more suggestions on what to do if the person you are concerned about does not want to see their doctor on the Dementia Australia website.

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    Who Is This Dementia Quiz For

    Below is a list of 10 questions designed for people who are concerned about memory loss. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with dementia, a neurocognitive disorder, and are based on criteria in the DSM-5 .

    Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.

    Problems With Vision And Spatial Awareness

    How To Tell If You Have Alzheimers Meme

    Alzheimers disease can sometimes cause vision problems, making it difficult for people to judge distances between objects. The person may find it hard to distinguish contrast and colors or judge speed or distance.

    These vision problems combined can affect the persons ability to drive.

    Normal aging also affects eyesight, so it is essential to have regular checkups with an eye doctor.

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    Why Early Detection Can Be Difficult

    Alzheimers disease usually is not diagnosed in the early stages, even in people who visit their primary care doctors with memory complaints.

    • People and their families generally underreport the symptoms.
    • They may confuse them with normal signs of aging.
    • The symptoms may emerge so gradually that the person affected doesnt recognize them.
    • The person may be aware of some symptoms but go to great lengths to conceal them.

    Recognizing symptoms early is crucial because medication to control symptoms is most effective in the early stages of the disease and early diagnosis allows the individual and his or her family members to plan for the future. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact a physician.

    Problems Writing Or Speaking

    The person may also have difficulty with words and communication. They may find it hard to follow or contribute to a conversation, or they may repeat themselves. They may also have difficulty writing down their thoughts.

    The person may stop in the middle of a conversation, unable to figure out what to say next. They may also struggle to find the right word or label things incorrectly.

    It is not uncommon for people to occasionally struggle to find the right word. Typically, they eventually remember it and do not experience the problem frequently.

    Recommended Reading: Alzheimers Awareness Ribbons

    What Is The Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Dementia

    First, some explanation of dementia vs. Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability that interferes with daily life. Not a normal part of aging, most dementias are typically caused by damaged brain cells.

    Of all the dementias, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, accounting for 60-80% of the cases. In other words, it is a specific disease while “dementia” is a general term for a life-altering decline in brain function .

    Loss Of Daily Life Skills

    Easy Test to Find Out if You May Have Early Signs of Dementia or Alzheimer’s

    A home that may not be as well kept as usual may be a sign that the person living there has dementia. They may lose the ability to do many of the things they normally do themselves, such as preparing meals, household chores and eating and drinking properly.

    They may also struggle to maintain their personal hygiene and getting dressed. Deciding what to wear, how to put things on and in the right order may become increasingly difficult. Getting around the house without walking into furniture and other items may also be a problem.

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    What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk Of Dementia

    Those that follow a healthier lifestyle have been shown to have a lower risk of dementia. Doing what you can to protect your heart, as well as staying active, can be beneficial. Therefore, it’s best to aim to:

    • eat a varied diet containing lots of fruit and vegetables
    • eat less salty and fatty foods, especially those high in saturated fat
    • drink alcohol in moderation
    • enjoy an active life with plenty of outside interests
    • ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol
    • keep your blood glucose well controlled if you have diabetes.

    Difficulty Completing Everyday Tasks

    The person may have difficulty completing an otherwise familiar task. For example, they may find it hard to:

    • get to a grocery store, restaurant, or place of employment
    • follow the rules of a familiar game
    • prepare a simple meal

    Sometimes, people need help with new or unfamiliar things as they get older, such as the settings on a new phone. However, this does not necessarily indicate a problem.

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    Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia

    Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections, hormonal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumours can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated.

    How Do I Know If My Mom Or Dad Has Dementia

    How to Know if Someone Has Alzheimer

    VirginiaLynne was a caregiver for in-laws with Alzheimer’s, and she shares her extensive research in dementia and elder care to help others.

    Is It Dementia?

    Have you noticed your parent or spouse forgetting things? Perhaps they’ve gotten lost on the way home from the store, or maybe they’ve asked the same question several times. What is the difference between normal forgetfulness and dementia? This article explains how to tell.

    Short Memory Quiz

    Below is a short quiz to help you determine whether the person you are concerned about is showing signs of early dementia. More quizzes for testing dementia can be found in Testing for Alzheimers and Symptoms of Advanced Alzheimers.

    Fill out the quiz for the person you are worried about. Respond to each question with a “yes” or “no.”

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    What Diagnosis Falls Under Alzheimer’s Disease

    Alzheimers disease is a diagnosis in itself. When it is noticeable clinically and identified early on, the formal diagnosis may be Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimers disease which may later develop into a diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimers disease.

  • Alzheimers Association. Stages of Alzheimers. Accessed May 27, 2021.
  • National Institute on Aging. Alzheimers Disease Fact Sheet. Content reviewed May 2019. Accessed May 27, 2021.
  • Alzheimers Or Senior Moments

    We can all have a bad day, but theres definitely a difference between a minor episode or two compared to frequent issues with the following:

    • Brain freeze: Forgetting the rules of a game, losing your train of thought or forgetting where youre going are part of normal human experience, but the frequency and severity of these episodes can foreshadow a problem
    • Confusion: Forgetting an appointment is normal, but forgetting the appointment location or how to get there can signal a warning
    • Losing things: Weve all misplaced our keys, but misplacing objects on a daily basis may be cause for concern

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    Redirect By Asking For Their Help

    If your senior loved one is refusing to come back to the house and is getting agitated arguing with them isnt going to help the situation. Neither will demanding that they come back. A way that you can get them to come back easily is to tell them that you need their help. For example, tell them that you understand they want to be outside but its cold out. Ask if they want a jacket or a sweater. When they say yes tell them that you dont know which jacket or sweater they want so they should come with you and pick one out so that they get the one they want.

    Detecting Alzheimers Gets Easier With A Simple Blood Test

    How do you tell someone they have Dementia?

    New assays could reduce the need for costlier, more invasive brain scans and spinal fluid measures

    When a patient complains of forgetfulness, a neurologist might not know immediately whether it results from normal aging, reduced blood flow to the brainor, more ominously, Alzheimers disease. For much of the past century, a definitive Alzheimers diagnosis could only be made during an autopsy. Brain imaging and spinal fluid tests now make it possible to spot the disease in patients even before the initial symptoms appear. But these invasive tests are expensive and generally limited to research settings that are not part of routine care for the millions of people suffering from the most common neurodegenerative disorder.

    An era in which an Alzheimers diagnosis can begin in a doctors office is now arriving. Advances in technologies to detect early signs of disease from a blood sample are helping doctors to identify the memory-robbing disorder more accurately and to screen participants more quickly for trials of potential treatments for the more than five million people in the U.S. afflicted with Alzheimers.

    The development of a blood-based test for Alzheimers disease is just phenomenal, says Michelle Mielke, a neuroscientist and epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic. The field has been thinking about this for a very long time. Its really been in the last couple of years that the possibility has come to fruition.

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    What Kind Of Doctor Tests For Dementia

    A primary care doctor can perform a physical exam and find out more about your symptoms to determine what may be the cause. They will likely refer you to one or several specialists that can perform specific tests to diagnose dementia. Specialists may include neurologists, who specialize in the brain and nervous system psychiatrists or psychologists, who specialize in mental health, mental functions, and memory or geriatricians, who specialize in healthcare for older adults.

    Are You Insurable If You Have Alzheimer’s Disease Or Dementia

    If you or a family member is living with Alzheimerâs Disease or any other kind of dementia, you might be curious if insurance is still an option.

    Insurance underwriting can be tricky sometimes, especially if you have a serious medical condition. However, there are generally a few exceptions depending on the type of insurance youâre looking for.

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    Key Points About Early

    • Alzheimer disease commonly affects older people, but early-onset Alzheimer disease can affect people in their 30s or 40s.

    • It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.

    • Although there is no known cure, early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better quality of life.

    • Stay healthy with a good diet and regular exercise.

    • Avoid alcohol and other substances that may affect memory, thinking, and behavior.

    Who Is At Risk Of Dementia

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    There doesn’t seem to be a single cause of dementia. But current research suggests a combination of factors affect your overall risk of developing dementia.

    • Age is the most significant factor. The risk of developing dementia increases with age.
    • Genetics don’t seem to play a significant part in your risk of developing dementia, even if your parent or relative has it. It’s only in some cases of early-onset dementia where there appears to be a stronger genetic link, but this is very rare.
    • Unhealthy lifestyles have also been shown to increase your risk of dementia.

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    Can You Get Life Insurance If You Have Alzheimer’s Or Dementia

    Most life insurance applications have health questions, and in those situations, anyone with Alzheimerâs Disease or dementia would not be able to qualify.

    However, there are life insurances that are Guaranteed Issue , which means you could get them without answering any health questions.

    These plans tend to be more expensive, which is why planning ahead and purchasing insurance plans before you have any serious medical conditions is so important.

    What Are The Main Types Of Dementia

    Dementia isn’t a disease in itself, it’s a term used to describe symptoms caused by other diseases that affect the brain. Knowing the type of dementia means treatment can be more specific to an individual’s needs.

    The most common types of dementia are:

    Alzheimer’s disease

    Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that targets the part of the brain that controls memory, language and thought. Alzheimer’s and dementia often get confused with one another, which can cause upset and confusion.

    Vascular dementia

    Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, after Alzheimer’s disease. This type of dementia is caused when the brain becomes damaged due to lack of blood supply, for instance following a stroke.

    Other types of dementia

    There are many other, rarer, types of dementia such as dementia with Lewy bodies or frontotemporal dementia. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease may lead to someone developing dementia.

    The many different types and related conditions can be confusing and overwhelming if you have received a dementia diagnosis or know someone with it. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

    Dementia in the UK

    • 850,000 people have dementia in the UK.
    • 1 in 6 people over 80 have dementia.
    • Only 43% of people with dementia have actually been diagnosed.

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    How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed

    Doctors use several methods and tools to help determine whether a person who is having memory problems has possible Alzheimers dementia , probable Alzheimers dementia , or some other problem.

    To diagnose Alzheimers, doctors may:

    • Ask the person and a family member or friend questions about overall health, use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, diet, past medical problems, ability to carry out daily activities, and changes in behavior and personality
    • Conduct tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language
    • Carry out standard medical tests, such as blood and urine tests, to identify other possible causes of the problem
    • Perform brain scans, such as computed tomography , magnetic resonance imaging , or positron emission tomography , to rule out other possible causes for symptoms

    These tests may be repeated to give doctors information about how the persons memory and other cognitive functions are changing over time. They can also help diagnose other causes of memory problems, such as stroke, tumor, Parkinsons disease, sleep disturbances, side effects of medication, an infection, mild cognitive impairment, or a non-Alzheimers dementia, including vascular dementia. Some of these conditions may be treatable and possibly reversible.

    People with memory problems should return to the doctor every 6 to 12 months.

    Do Not Ask Your Parent To Remember Something

    How do you know if you or someone else has dementia?

    As you carry on this challenging conversation, you might tend to ask your parent if they remember a person or event. Keep in mind that they are in the throes of dementia and do not remember things as they once did. All you would accomplish by asking them to remember something is to embarrass or frustrate them.

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