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Now that the holidays are over, you may have seen some changes in your senior loved one that are cause for concern. Here is a list of the Top 10 indicators of Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer’s Association to look for in a cognitive change for your loved one:

  1. Forgetting recently learned information. Often we hear of seniors remembering fifty years ago more easily than we do remembering things from this morning. The ability to retain new information is impaired.
  2. They have challenges with planning. Anything that requires steps such as following a recipe or doing bills can become very difficult. The senior can get lost in the process.
  3. Difficulty completing tasks. Things such as driving or managing a budget can prove to be very difficult getting lost in the middle of it, and not knowing how to finish the task.
  4. Confusion with time and place. Seniors may lose track of dates, seasons, or forget how they got somewhere. We hear of “Sundowners” in the afternoons and this is the time when the senior is not oriented to time of day as they get tired and evening approaches.
  5. Having trouble with visual images. Visions issues may come into play, judging distance, spacial relationships, and problems with driving. We have heard many times of the family members finding their loved ones vehicle with scratches or dings on it from not judging distances well.
  6. New problems with words and writing. We often hear seniors affected by Alzheimer’s repeating their thoughts, or not being able to come up with the right words to convey their thoughts. Having trouble with clocks is another issue.
  7. Misplacing things. Often we may discover things ending up on odd places, losing things, and accusing others of stealing things they cannot find.
  8. Poor judgement. A way in which this may come across is making poor decisions with money such as donating to many organizations who are soliciting the senior, and giving away sensitive information. We also may notice that hygiene is not being done properly.
  9. Withdrawing from social life. The senior may remove themselves from hobbies as they feel they are not able to manage what they used to be able to do. They may also avoid social situations because they are no longer comfortable with how to act, or what is considered acceptable.
  10. Changes in mood and personality. Often coupled with Alzheimer’s, we see an onset of depression, being fearful, having anxiety, or becoming easily upset. This may appear very different than what the senior was like before their diagnosis.

If you notice these things in your senior loved one, you will want to seek medical attention. Specifically, a geriatric neuropsychologist would be the best place to start who can do extensive testing to see if the disease is indeed there, and they are able to determine the stage. The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource for caregivers and families to assist their loved one manage this disease. At Senior Living Experts, we can help you with other resources including area support groups for caregivers, in-home caregiving and senior living community location assistance.

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