Do You Suspect Someone You Love Has Alzheimer’s?

The Alzheimer’s Association lists 10 warning signs that may signal Alzheimer’s. A person who has difficulty in one or more of these areas should be evaluated*: 

09_Boatman_JNSR1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure

4. Confusion with time or place

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

8. Decreased or poor judgment

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

10. Changes in mood and personality 

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*From Guide to Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease, a special report from Johns Hopkins Medicine (Remedy Health Media, 2011).

—Paul E. Boatman

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ALSO: Read Paul Boatman’s account of how he and his wife are dealing with her Alzheimer’s. CLICK HERE

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Do you suspect YOU might be developing Alzheimer’s?

None of us wants to have an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but denial or ignorance intensifies the difficulties associated with the disease. If you experience any of the early stage Alzheimer’s symptoms—increasing forgetfulness that affects your work or daily activities, frequent confusion or disorientation—please seek help.

 • Tell the person closest to you—spouse, child, best friend, etc.—about your concern. Be prepared for loving people to minimize your concerns.

• Insist on an evaluation. A physician or counselor can make the referral for you.

• Be aware that Alzheimer’s is not the only dementia diagnosis. Each dementia has its own treatment plan.

• For any treatment, have someone to whom you are accountable for both behavior and medication. It may be annoying to have someone looking over your shoulder, but it will be helpful to have someone assist when your memory is not at its peak.

• Feel free to apologize for awkward moments produced by your memory loss, but never express shame for your dementia. You are still a prized child of God.

—P.E.B.

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