About 6 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, a number that’s expected to climb to 14 million by 2060.
Awareness of Alzheimer’s and its costs is growing, thanks in part to the publicity from June being Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Now is the time your to be educated about Alzheimer’s as you age.
Memory changes for the elderly and seniors as they age. You may notice changes in memory or behavior in yourself, loved ones, friends, or family, or someone at your assisted living community.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has 10 warning signs for Alzheimer’s.
Here are the signs:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life. These include forgetting events, repeating yourself, or relying on more aids to help you remember like sticky notes or reminders.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems. Things like trouble paying bills or cooking recipes you used for years.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or at leisure. Examples are trouble driving places, cooking, using a cell phone, or shopping.
- Confusion with time or place. You might have trouble understanding an event that is happening later, or losing track of dates.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations. Difficulty balancing or judging distance are examples. You might trip over things at home or spill or drop things more often.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing. This is trouble following or joining a conversation or struggling to find a word you’re looking for.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. Examples are placing your car keys in the washer or dryer or not being able to retrace your steps to find something.
- Decreased or poor judgment. For example, being a victim of a scam, not managing money well, paying less attention to hygiene, or having trouble taking care of a pet.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities. This includes not wanting to go to church or other activities as you usually do, not being able to follow football games, or keep up with what’s happening.
- Changes in mood and personality. This includes getting upset easily in common situations or being fearful or suspicious.
If you see these warning signs, see a doctor. Early diagnosis lets you get treatment and plan for the future.
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