One of the most worrying things we face as we age is losing our ability to think and function rationally. Recent research demonstrates that by the age of 35, the human brain starts to decline in a consistent way. As time progresses, the degeneration of the brain continues steadily to forms of dementia or other fatal neurological diseases.
Unfortunately, by the time most people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, damage to the brain has occurred and is potentially irreversible.
What are the signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia and how do they differ from normal behavioural changes commonly experienced with aging?
Memory loss which disrupts daily life
One of the most common early signs is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
Normally, we sometimes forget things such as names but remember them later.
Difficulties problem solving
Some people experience a change in their abilities to follow plans or calculate numbers. They may experience difficulty following familiar exercises or keep track of paying bills. Tasks which require concentration may take longer to do than before.
Normally, we may make occasional errors when making small calculations.
People with dementia may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
Normally, we make a bad decision once in a while.
Confusion and disorientation
Sufferers can show poor judgement, lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
Normally, we might very occasionally forget the day of the week but we find out later.
Speech and language disturbance
This manifests itself when sufferers forget words, written and spoken, and have difficulty communicating with others. People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves.
Normally, we occasionally have difficulties finding the right word.
Difficulty with familiar tasks
A common early aspect of Alzheimer’s is the more complex motor skills that are required when performing daily tasks such as writing or washing.
Normally, we may occasionally need help working a microwave or recording a TV show.
Withdrawal from work or social Activities
A person with dementia may begin to withdraw from activities, hobbies, socialising, work tasks or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favourite sports team or remembering how to complete a favourite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
Normally, we can feel a little tired of work, family or social obligations.
Personality changes can occur early on in the disease development which may include apathy, confusion, suspicious, fear and anxiety. They may be easily upset at home, work, with friends or in places with which they are unfamiliar. Depression can be a found at all stages of dementia but it can often be mistaken due to events such as losing a loved one.
Normally, we develop specific ways of doing things and get irritated when that routine is disrupted.
I enjoy working with RejuveMind as I feel I am actually helping people to improve their memory, concentration and mood; reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s and dementia.