As part of the aging cycle, Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia that affects individuals’ memory and cognition. As Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, it can affect 60-80% of dementia cases as there are different signs and symptoms one may identify with.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms:
- The memory of the individual with dementia begins to impact their daily activities. Typically, the recently learned items are easily forgotten. Think of a bookshelf as one’s memory where the old books are placed at the bottom and newer books at the top. If the bookshelf is shaking, the books at the top would fall out first. This is similar to what occurs to individuals with Alzheimer’s as the recent memories may become a blur to the individual. Signs of forgetting can include forgetting important dates or events and constantly asking the same questions repeatedly.
- Some individuals may find it challenging to plan or solve problems as how they would use to. Some may struggle with following plans or dealing with numbers as they may lose focus. They may find it challenging to complete a routine or task they would do such as keeping track of monthly bills.
- The individual may find it harder to complete tasks they had done on a daily basis. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may find it more difficult to go to familiar locations, organizing lists (e.g., grocery) or completing daily chores.
- Individuals can lose track of date, time and place. They may find it challenging to understand the task or situation unless it is happening immediately at the moment. This may sound frightening as some individuals may forget how they were able to get somewhere.
- For some individuals they may find it troubling to identify and understand visual spatial relationships. It may be the issue that the individual is unable to judge distance or determine colour/contrast.
- Some individuals may find it challenging to find words when communicating. It is common for people with Alzheimer’s disease to stop in the middle of a sentence when speaking as they may not know how to carry forward their idea or they may continuously repeat themselves.
- Many individuals will tend to misplace their things in unusual places. This can result them in accusing those who are close to them in stealing their items as they may not remember.
- The individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease might suffer from poor decision-making. They may not be able to be attentive as they used to be resulting in poor judgment calls.
- The individuals may face withdrawal from social activities or their occupation. This can occur due to the individual’s limited ability to communicate effectively.
- Lastly, individuals with Alzheimer’s may face mood/personality changes. They may not act how they would use to as they can feel depressed, fearful, confused and anxious.
If you are caring for one who has Alzheimer’s disease, there are programs offered to help support them. In particular at the Scarborough Healthy Community, they offer SCHC Active Living Centre (ALC) where they provide therapeutic and recreational activities to enhance their quality of life.
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Written by: Shenen Sivakumar