Alzheimer's Disease: 7 Alarming Signs And Their Best Coping Strategies

Dementia And Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's Disease
Generally, the term "dementia" refers to a decline in cognitive ability. Sometimes it can be severe enough to hinder daily activities. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a type of dementia.

There are several risk factors such as increasing age, genetic factors, head injuries, vascular diseases, infections, and environmental factors which play a role in the Alzheimer's disease.  

It's a devastating disease that can show up in a variety of ways. Despite the fact that it is associated with old age, scientists have discovered that the disease can develop at any age, and the reason for this is unknown. 

Types of Alzheimer's disease:

  1. Early Onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) - developed before the age of 65 years, which may be hereditary or sporadic 
  2. Late Onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) - developed after the age of 65 years, that records for 90% of all Advertisement cases.

Dementia is a clinical disorder and may results in moderate decrease in memory, thinking and reasoning skills as well as language, executive and visuospatial function, personality, and behavior changes. It leads to loss of abilities to perform activities of daily living. Up to 80% of all dementia diagnoses are due to Alzheimer's disease (AD). 

Watch out for These 7 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's

1. Memory Loss Affecting Daily Life

Sometimes we forget names, relations and important appointments, but we recall them later. It is common and may happen with anyone due to anxiety, stress or specific medication. 

But it should be a matter of concern when someone is frequently doing the following:
  • Forgets recently learned info, dates or events
  • Unable to recognize family members or friends
  • Asking the same question again and again
  • Telling a story or event repeatedly
  • Needing help to complete the tasks that were easy to remember and to do previously
  • Increased dependency on reminders like notes or verbal commands

2. Planning And Problems Solving Challenges

To err is human. However, people with dementia may experience planning and problems solving challenges. Their ability to develop and follow a plan may be diminished specially when working with numbers (crossword puzzle, managing finances or household bills). Due to lack of concentration, they may take much longer time to complete a task than they did it before. Multitasking becomes difficult. 

3. Disorientation Of Time Or Place

It happens with increasing age that people may get confused with date and places. However, the issue is resolved when they figure it out later. But, it is not seen in individuals with Alzheimer's disease. They may become disoriented about dates, seasons and the passage of time. Sometimes they are unable to remember where they are now and how they came there. 

4. Visuospatial Challenges

I would say that visuospatial challenge is a very serious issue as it may lead to frequent falls. Some patients with Alzheimer’s may exhibit vision problems. They may report difficulty in reading and colour recognition. Vision problem along with difficulty in judging the distance may result in difficulty in walking, stair climbing and driving etc.  

5. Speaking or Writing Problems

Do you sometime forget the name of any object or call it with a different name!! If this is just for fun then its OK!!! However, this is not in people with Alzheimer's. 

Vocabulary becomes weak in Alzheimer’s disease. Due to lack of finding the correct word, these patients face difficulty in conversation. They may repeat the same sentence or word in conversation or they may halt in the middle of a conversation. Due to vocabulary problem, they may struggle to name a familiar object or use the wrong name for it.

Speaking and writing problem leads to withdrawal from social activities. 

6. Misplacing Things

Misplacing things and inability to track them down is another warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease. They may put an object or thing in unusual spot and they are unable to retrace it to get it back. As the disease progress and the symptoms intensify, they may accuse others of stealing it.

7. Mood And Personality Changes

Mood and personality changes may be seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Visuospatial challenges, disorientation of time or place and poor decision making may lead to confusion. They become suspicious and depressed.  Stress, anxiety and fearfulness are also observed in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. They may be easily agitated if their routine is disrupted or when they are out of their comfort zone.

How to cope with Alzheimer's disease? 

Alzheimer's disease is a slow progressive neurodegenerative disease. The main characteristic feature of Alzheimer's disease is accumulation of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in specific areas of brain.

It is almost impossible to stop or reverse the degenerative changes. Therefore, it is expected to observe personality and behaviour changes.

Coping With Alzheimer's disease
 Coping With Alzheimer's disease

Here are some tips to cope with them:

  • Try to make task/sentence simple and easy. One task/sentence at a time.
  • Follow an established daily routine. It will help the individual to be aware what to expect next.
  • Keep Reassuring them. Make them trust that you are here for their help and they will be safe with you.
  • Understand their feelings rather than words. They may not always exhibit their true feelings due to lack of vocabulary.
  • Never argue with them.
  • Sometimes you may feel angry or frustrated due to their repeated behaviour. Do not express your frustration and anger on him. 
  • Provide a secure area for people who walk a lot. Give shoes that are sturdy and comfortable. 
  • To ensure that they do not lose too much weight while walking, provide them with light snacks and ensure that they drink enough water.
  • Try distracting the individual by dancing, singing, or playing music.
  • Get them involved in daily task and ask for help. 

The Final Words

The prognosis for Alzheimer's disease remains unchanged, and the treatment options remain supportive and symptomatic. Memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors, for example, increase alertness and memory, but they do not alter the life expectancy or overall progression of Alzheimer's disease dementia. 

Diet and exercise-based lifestyle changes are still the only interventions that have shown to lower Alzheimer's disease risk and possibly prevent overall cognitive decline. These interventions are recommended as first-line treatment for all patients, regardless of cognitive function.

Caregiving, on the other hand, can also become exhausting. It is easy to become overwhelmed, discouraged, and neglect your own health and well-being as your loved one's cognitive, physical, and functional abilities gradually decline over time. 

Many dementia caregivers experience depression, high levels of stress, or even burnout due to the strain of providing care. The burden of providing care can increase your risk of serious health issues. 

Additionally, nearly all caregivers for people with Alzheimer's or dementia experience sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and exhaustion at some point. 

So, take care of Your Self, while taking care of Your Loved One!!!

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  1. Really helpful post. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease, it's so important that we, as caregivers, know how to adequately help people with it.

  2. Very informative post and have great tips to help people dealing with something like this. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thank you for sharing this important post - we need to recognize the signs to get diagnosis earlier and get help to cope with it.


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