Today’s the day! It’s your day to share the news about Alzheimer’s Action Day! Houstonians can bathe the city in a sea of purple while reminding neighbors and friends to support the fight against Alzheimer’s. With over 35 million people worldwide who are diagnosed with some form of dementia, almost everyone knows a family coping with the disease.
Step up and share your story, help a family caregiver, or volunteer at a local adult day care center for dementia patients. If you haven’t participated in a local Alzheimer’s Association walk, check out their website for a walk in your neighborhood.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s often develop slowly over a number of years, but each person is different. Individuals who exhibit signs of Alzheimer’s should seek professional advice as soon as possible. Understanding the stages of the disease can help you plan ahead.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
- Loss of memory
- Trouble finding words
- General disorientation
- Difficulty making decisions and judgements
- Changes in behavior and personality
Stages of Alzheimer’s
- Early stage: loss of memory, trouble finding words, and difficulty making decisions or judgments
- Mild cognitive impairment stage (Alzheimer’s is often diagnosed at this stage): getting lost, trouble paying bills or handling money, frequently repeating questions, taking longer to complete normal daily tasks, often losing things or misplacing them in odd places, and mood and personality changes
- Moderate cognitive impairment stage: increased memory loss and confusion, problems recognizing family and friends, inability to learn new things, difficulty carrying out tasks that involve multiple tasks such as getting dressed, problems coping with new situations, delusions, and paranoia
- Severe stage: inability to communicate, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, increased sleeping, lack of control of bladder and bowels
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding. The day-to-day care, changing of family roles, and decisions of placement in a care facility can be wearing to caregivers. It is imperative to educate yourself, to have a strong network of support, and to have practical strategies in place as quickly as possible.
There are many associations and organizations available to help you discover more about symptoms, types of care, and help in coping and dealing with Alzheimer’s: