November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia; it is marked by memory loss, cognitive problems, and behavioral issues. More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Whether you are a healthcare professional or a concerned family member or friend, awareness of Alzheimer’s disease is critical in preventing dangerous accidents and missteps during Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
6 Signs of Alzheimer’s
1. Memory Loss
An early and common sign of Alzheimer’s is the inability to recall recent events important dates.
2. Planning and Problem Solving
Concentration can be an issue at the onset of the disease, making it tricky to develop plans, write lists, or work with numbers.
3. Completing ADLs
Recurring and familiar tasks may suddenly grow difficult. Driving, especially recalling destinations or focusing on the road, are two common issues with potentially serious consequences.
4. Confusion with Time and Place
Alzheimer’s patients might forget where they are or how they got there. They are unable to easily recall what season it is, or the current date.
5. Speaking and Writing Issues
Conversation can grow tricky when a word is forgotten or misused. Ideas may also be incomplete (ending a conversation early) or repetitive.
6. Mood and Personality Changes
Someone with Alzheimer’s might act anxious, depressed, or confused. Friends and loved ones might notice them grow upset or uncomfortable at home or work.
Warning signs shouldn’t be ignored. Early detection means greater symptom relief through available treatments. It also allows family and friends the opportunity to offer their help to avoid dangerous incidents.
For nursing and care giving students exploring a career in patient care in long-term care facilities, the video “See Me” can be valuable viewing. “See Me” is a black and white short film that expresses the individuality of people in this population.