Alzheimer's & Dementia

Helping loved ones with memory impairment is both doable and can be rewarding.

Your loved one is a little forgetful today. What may be next?

We are all forgetful from time to time. But what happens when that forgetfulness becomes consistent? More frequent and severe? It starts with not remembering little things and over time, bigger things. Those beginning to be forgetful recognize it and may get upset. Those helping frequently don’t know how to navigate the journey that is Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Thankfully, there are resources that can help.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes slow declines in memory over time, impacting thinking and reasoning skills. You may also hear the term “Dementia”. Dementia is a general term for memory loss that is significant enough to interfere with daily life and is also caused by physical changes in the brain. Whether Alzheimer’s or Dementia, the effects to the untrained eye seem similar.

 

The Alzheimer’s Association identifies ten early signs or symptoms to be mindful of:

  1. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
  2. Difficulty completing familiar tasks such as a favorite game, driving to a familiar location, groceries.
  3. Confusion of time and place.
  4. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  6. New problems with words in speaking and writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.

A Geriatric Care Manager can refer you to doctors that can diagnose if your loved one has dementia, Alzheimer’s, or any other related memory impairment.

There is a wonderful book called “The 36 Hour Day” that walks any regular individual through the mind and changes of the mind of an individual with this disease. It also coaches the reader on how to communicate over time with anyone that has memory impairment. There are Memory Care communities and Adult Day Centers, where your loved one can benefit from stimulation and socialization, while you catch your breath.

Yes, those with Memory Impairment do recognize the love you give them. Even if they can’t communicate it back.

As memory impairments grow a person suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia may not be able to hold a normal conversation and over time, may not speak much. Many families over the years asked us if their loved one recognizes deep down all the love and care they are being given. The answer is an absolute yes. Sometimes, the circle of life requires that we give back to those that gave to us as children. Thankfully, Alzheimer’s and Dementia research has evolved significantly. Professionals today know much much more about how to treat the disease and how to help you manage yourself and your loved one as the disease progresses.

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Alexandria, VA 22314

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