Normal Aging or Early Alzheimer’s disease: Advice for Michigan Caregivers
All of us forget things. Where we left our cell phone, a friend’s birthday or what day to pick up the dry cleaning. Life can move too fast to keep up with it all. So how do you determine if your loved one’s memory problems are normal aging or something more serious?
The aging experts at The Brook Retirement Communities have a few suggestions to help caregivers in Northern Michigan decide:
- When your family member forgets something can they recall it later? Or is it gone for good? Are they forgetting primarily new information or old familiar things, too? For people with Alzheimer’s disease, forgotten information is typically gone for good.
- An important distinction to make in sorting out their forgetfulness is to understand if they are forgetting to do things or forgetting how to do them? For example, let’s say your father routinely paid his bills online twice a month every month since he learned how. Now you notice overdue letters coming to his home. If he is having trouble with the abstract thought process required to complete that task, it may be an indication of something more serious.
- Forgetting how to get somewhere that is familiar is also a troubling sign. If your mom has gone to the same beauty shop every Friday morning for years, then one day she suddenly has trouble finding it that should send up a warning flag for your family.
- Is the person you care for having trouble with recent memory recall that verbal cues can’t help with? For example, you call your mother each morning to remind her to take her vitamins and other medications. When you make a follow-up phone call to her later, she doesn’t remember talking to you earlier or if she took her medicine. That is not a typical part of aging.
We hope this information has been of help to you. If you have any doubts about your loved one’s health, it is probably best to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician. Just to be safe. Early diagnosis allows time for interventions that can help delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Are you a Northern Michigan caregiver for a family member living with Alzheimer’s disease?
What was your first indication that something was wrong?