In the recently released award-winning drama, “Still Alice” Julianne Moore plays an accomplished linguistics professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. During a speech she gives in the course of the movie, she says:
“The poet Elizabeth Bishoponce wrote: ‘the Art of Losing isn’t hard to master: so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.’ I’m not a poet, I am a person living with Early Onset Alzheimer’s, and as that person I find myself learning the art of losing every day. Losing my bearings, losing objects, losing sleep, but mostly losing memories…”
This disease is widely recognized, and for people whose loved ones may be experiencing symptoms that seem similar to the symptoms of dementia, understanding the signs and knowing what to do about it can be scary and difficult.
Warning signs you shouldn’t ignore
Alzheimer’s Disease has many symptoms but for most people it doesn’t appear as early as it did for Julianne Moore’s character in “Still Alice.” Most dementia symptoms don’t appear until the mid-70’s. No matter the age of the person in question, it is important for their family and friends to be familiar with some of the more common, but perhaps less widely recognized, symptoms of this disease.
- Falling frequently
- Eating inappropriate things and eating much more than normal
- Inability to recognize sarcasm
- Stealing or other out-of-character behaviors that signal a lapse in judgement
- Not knowing how to use common items
- Depression that sets in later in life
- Unfocused staring
- Difficulty with planning and problem-solving
- Rapid changes in vision
- Decrease in vocabulary and struggling with common words
- Social withdrawal and a general lack of motivation that seems out of character
- New fears and increased anxiety
Seek a doctor’s advice
Several new studies and clinical trials for new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s Disease indicate that early detection and diagnosis makes a huge difference in the availability of treatments that can slow down the cognitive decline of a person with Alzheimer’s Disease. It is crucial to seek the advice of a doctor if you notice these symptoms.
Simple tests that evaluate a person’s ability to complete simple tasks, retain information, and solve problems can indicate whether further testing is needed. Brain imaging and blood tests may also help with confirming a diagnosis. Doctors who specialize in treating Alzheimer’s Disease like psychiatrists, geriatricians, or neurologists understand the disease’s progression and can help explain the next steps.
Before you self-diagnose, see a physician to determine what level of concern, if any, is warranted. You can find a specialist by contacting Alzheimer’s Disease Centers.
Sevens Home Care and Sevens Residential Memory Care is committed to assisting families who are dealing with the reality of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. To find out more about how we help those with dementia in the Denver, Colorado area remain comfortable, safe, and happy in their own homes for a long as possible, please contact us today.