The World Health Organization reports that Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will increase three-fold by 2050. And according to studies conducted by UCLA 5.5 million Americans currently, suffer from Alzheimer’s. This number is expected to be around 15 million by 2060.

The early detection of Alzheimer’s is of extreme importance and there are a number of warning signs for loved ones to look when interacting with elderly family members. Here are some of the top Alzheimer’s disease signs and symptoms.

Disruptive Memory Loss

Memory loss is one of the most prevalent symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Both short and long-term memory is affected by the effects of short-term memory loss is usually more easily noticed.

Seniors may be observed to forget important dates or appointments, repeating the same questions or information, or increasingly becoming dependent on memory aids or family members to recall things that they once could on their own. This loss of memory can often time become extremely disruptive in the lives of seniors.

Difficulty Performing Common Tasks

Senior family members afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease will often find it difficult, and maybe even impossible to complete routine tasks. An example of this would be a grandmother was known for her cooking prowess being unable to prepare her most enjoyed meal.

Seniors may also have trouble with arriving at locations familiar to them, playing games they enjoy or managing finances.

Placing Things In Odd Places

Discovering car keys in the refrigerator, the remote control in clothes hamper, or regularly finding items that had been missing in strange locations is strong evidence that an elderly family member could be suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

While some may believe that forgetfulness is a simple byproduct of aging, the person with Alzheimer’s does not only forget the whereabouts of possessions occasionally but often leave them in unusual places and are unable to retrace their path to locate them.

Seniors may also become suspicious of others when unable to locate items.

Struggling To Communicate

Visible evidence of diminished ability to communicate is another common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Sufferer’s of Alzheimer’s may often stop talking in mid-sentence and become unable to continue.

Vocabulary can also become problematic and seniors with Alzheimer’s may also struggle in searching for correct words or terms or refer to objects or people with incorrect names, and in some cases invent words that do not exist.

Aimless Wandering

A potentially dangerous warning sign of Alzheimer’s is the tendency for elderly sufferers of the disease to wander off and often become lost. This tendency toward aimless wandering is often exacerbated by the feelings of restlessness, confusion with time, anxiety, and difficulty with recognition of familiar faces that Alzheimer’s patients often experience.

Cases have been reported where individual’s with Alzheimer’s have left the home late at night in response to a need, like using the bathroom, that could easily have been fulfilled in the home. Alzheimer’s sufferers have also been reported to leave ‘for home’ when already present in their homes.

Difficulty With Visual Information

The vision problems experienced by seniors with Alzheimer’s is much different than that of most common age-related visual impairments. With Alzheimer’s there is the inability to gauge distances or determine the color or contrast of an object.

Problems with perception such as observing themselves in a mirror and believing their reflection to be someone else present in the room can also occur with Alzheimer’s.

Actions With No Purpose

Alzheimer’s sufferers will often be seen engaging in pointless activities such as packing and then unpacking belongings, pacing to and fro with no destination, or opening and closing drawers, doors, or windows repeatedly for no reason.

To the onlooker, these activities will have no reason attached to them but experts on the disease believe that these activities are repeated to fulfill a need on the part of the Alzheimer’s sufferer to stay busy or feel productive.

Withdrawal From Social Activities

Loneliness and Isolation are often associated with Alzheimer’s disease and persons with the disease may begin to ignore many of the activities that they need or once loved to do. Many times this is fueled by shame or embarrassment felt by the Alzheimer’s sufferers due to the changes they have experienced with themselves.

Depression

Depression is often a central theme in the lives of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Depression can be a difficult symptom to identify and this is made more difficult for Alzheimer’s sufferers due to impairments with cognitive function.

Senior family members that sleep much more than usual or repeatedly spend entire days watching television while engaging in little or no other activities may be suffering from depression.

Decline In Motor Skills

The proper functioning of fine motor skills is often a casualty to Alzheimer’s disease. This decline in motor skills can manifest itself in ways like struggles with tying shoes, buttoning clothes, or making use of eating utensils.

Alzheimer’s disease can be extremely debilitating for elders and a cause of much sadness to family members. Recognizing the signs of Alzheimer’s is crucial as early detection of the disease affords Alzheimer’s experts like those presently at work at the Maple Wood of Sauk Praire, in Sauk City Wisconsin.

Alzheimer’s Disease. (2017, May 08). Retrieved December 24, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/alzheimers-disease

Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved December 24, 2017, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet

The 3 Phases of Alzheimer’s Disease

alzheimers-disease-careMore than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s. It’s likely that you already know someone who has Alzheimer’s or who is caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. It can be frightening to find out that family member is suffering from this disease, but sometimes knowing more about what to expect can help.

Although Alzheimer’s affects all individuals differently, there are generally three stages that people experience. However, your loved one may move through these stages at a different rate, and sometimes the stages overlap. Your loved one may exhibit some symptoms of early-stage Alzheimer’s and some symptoms of middle-stage Alzheimer’s, for example.

Alzheimer’s disease begins making changes in a person’s brain long before symptoms are apparent. Theses changes can sometimes be detected with brain imaging like fMRI, but you won’t notice any difference in the person’s day to day behaviors. This stage is referred to as “preclinical Alzheimer’s,” and it is not considered one of the three phases since no symptoms are apparent. Preclinical Alzheimer’s can last for several years before changes in the person’s habits or lifestyle become apparent.

Mild or Early-Stage Alzheimer’s
During this first phase of Alzheimer’s, problems may be apparent only to close friends or family members who spend a lot of time with the person. Doctors may also notice memory or concentration problems during detailed interviews. For the most part, however, this phase may be undetectable from a distance.

People with early-stage Alzheimer’s often work, participate in social activities, drive, live alone, and function independently. They may begin to have memory lapses more often than they used to. All people have memory lapses once in a while, like forgetting what day of the week it is and later remembering, or not being able to think of a particular word or object name for a little while. However, people with early-stage Alzheimer’s will begin to have more frequent lapses. They may have more trouble than usual remembering names when meeting new people, often forget things they’ve just read, or have increasing trouble with planning and organizing.

After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which can sometimes happen during the early stage, the average person lives four to eight more years. However, this is only an average, and some people live up to 20 more years.

Moderate or Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s
Middle-stage Alzheimer’s is typically the longest phase, and it may last for many years. People in this stage will require gradually increasing levels of care, and will exhibit more serious symptoms. Damage to nerve cells in the brains of people with middle-stage Alzheimer’s may lead to these people acting differently than they used to. They may get frustrated or angry often or stop doing routine things like bathing. They may find it difficult to express their thoughts, which can make them more frustrated.

During this stage, people typically become increasingly forgetful about important events and their own past, get confused, and develop erratic sleeping habits. They may also experience personality changes that require a great deal of patience from caregivers and family members, like becoming moody, suspicious, and compulsive.

Severe or Late-Stage Alzheimer’s
In the final stage of this disease, people may need help with personal care and activities around the clock. They may develop difficulty communicating or experience changes in physical abilities. They may become less able to walk, sit up, or swallow. They often lose awareness of recent experiences and do not respond to their surroundings.

Caring for People with Alzheimer’s
It can be difficult to care for people with Alzheimer’s Disease as they begin to need help more and more frequently. Many families find they are unable to handle the advanced needs of their loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s. Facilities like Maplewood Sauk Prairie can ease some of the burden with kind, professional, and highly trained staff that will care for your loved ones and allow you to be highly involved in their treatment and daily life. We are happy to speak with you and give tours of our facility, so if you would like to talk about Alzheimer’s care program, give us a call at (608) 643-3383.

Your memory.  It contains all of your thoughts, life experiences, past events you’ve attended and names of your friends and family members or even the items that you need to buy at the grocery store.  Your memory is the book of your life, past and present, that is kept tucked away within your mind.

As we age, it’s not uncommon that our memories aren’t as good as they once were.  However, for some, memory loss can be related to a clinical condition such as dementia or alzheimer’s disease.  This can be extremely difficult for those that suffer from memory loss as well as their husbands or wives, sons or daughters, or any of their caregivers.

Assistance For Memory Loss

sauk-prairie-memory-careWhen someone is having problems with their memory, what can be done?  How do you help those who suffer?  Is there a way to provide care for those who have a loss in their memory function?

The good news is that there are things that can be done to help those who are having memory difficulties.  Whether your loved one is just having some early stages of memory difficulties or has more advanced memory loss, there is help that can be provided.

One type of assistance is through a memory care center where the individual is initially evaluated and are then involved in a memory care program to assist them with their difficulties.

Sauk Prairie Memory Care Center

Maplewood of Sauk Prairie offers memory care services for those who are faced with the difficult challenges of memory loss, including dementia and alzheimer’s disease.

Our memory care programs are offered within Evergreen Court, a special unit dedicated specifically for memory care residents.  This secured area is staffed by our wonderful team who have been specially trained in the areas of memory care treatment.

Evergreen Court offers 14 private rooms with handicap accessible bathrooms.  This quaint setting provides ongoing support through memory activities, interactions with others and a place where special attention can be provided for the specific needs of each of our residents.

Through a structured program, our staff works with our residents to include ongoing daily activities that supports their mind and supports them as a unique individual.  Daily games, crafting, interactive activities and special events make Evergreen Court a special place to assist those who are having memory difficulties.

In addition, this special unit has its own outdoor courtyard where you will find residents taking care of flowers, conversing with one another or just taking in some beautiful weather.

Memory Care Help is Close to Home

At Maplewood, we understand the impact that memory loss, including dementia and alzheimer’s disease, can have on a family.  You want the absolute best for those that you love and that’s exactly what we want as well.

If you have a loved one that needs memory care treatment, we encourage you to call us and speak with us directly about how we may help.  Call us at 608-643-3383.  We would be happy to talk with you and answer all of the questions that you may have.