The first signs of Alzheimer’s Disease are not as sudden or as clear as one might believe. In fact, Alzheimer’s Disease is easiest to detect in the “rear view mirror” as it were- when comparing today’s daily function with that of months ago. The difficulty for loved ones in detecting the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease is actually all of the misinformation and myths surrounding the disease- that and the fact that we commonly call any type of memory impairment “Alzheimer’s”.
When it comes to Alzheimer’s Disease, a good rule of thumb to remember is this- if Mom forgets where she put her keys or her wallet, that does not indicate the onset of the disease. However, if Mom can’t remember what the keys are for, or repeatedly puts her wallet in the freezer, those are reasons to keep a close eye on her behavior.
In reality, the first signs of Alzheimer’s may be puzzling behavior on the part of the patient. These can include everything from stealing to eating inappropriate things. If your mother or father begins to exhibit behaviors and personality traits that you have never seen before, i.e. the shy become aggressive, the optimistic become depressed, it could be the result of cognitive changes in the brain.
A recent article in the Daily Tribune listed some of the more unusual symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and they bear repeating. These are all the result of physical changes in the brain caused by the disease- not a sudden desire to break the law or become a difficult human being.
Stealing- The executive function of the brain- the decision making function- and the ability to tell right from wrong are diminished.
Frequent falling- Researchers who studied brain scans found a correlation between falling and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Forgetting the function of common objects- There are many types of dementia and memory impairments. Alzheimer’s Disease can be detected when the patient can’t remember how to start the car, boil water, hang up clothes or conduct other common daily activities of life.
Eating inappropriate things- The brain of Alzheimer’s patients receives hunger signals but doesn’t know how to discern them. This is why Alzheimer’s patients may eat anything from paper to old gum.
Unfocused staring- Alzheimer’s Disease “unfocuses” the brain to begin with. Plaque tangles the brain, impairing its function, ability to retrieve memories and make sense of the day. This can result in unfocused staring, as the brain struggles to make sense of things.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a complex, confusing condition for the patient and his or her loved ones. If your family member has been diagnosed with this disease, don’t hesitate to seek help. Alzheimer’s Disease changes your loved one, will challenge and change your relationship with him or her, and place extraordinary pressure on you as the caregiver.
Sevens Home Care will provide support for you and your family, helping you to understand the disease while keeping your loved one at home. We primarily offer services in the individual’s private residence but will also provide one-on-one support for your loved one in assisted living and rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, hospices and hospitals. We go wherever and whenever a patient needs care on a regular schedule, weekly or monthly visits or for one-time respite care.
When it comes time for your loved one to be safe in a secure, memory centered facility, Sevens Residential Memory Care provides a safe, enriching environment. Our innovative house specializes in memory care including Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and is located in a residential neighborhood in Lakewood, CO. Accommodating only 12 residents and two full-time care partners, our model offers highly personalized supervision and a supportive community that fosters individual freedom.
To learn more about Sevens Home Care, call 303-470-1921. To learn more about Sevens Residential Memory Care and to schedule a tour call 720-477-1727.