If you suspect your loved one is showing early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, you should realize the unfortunate situation becomes more and more evident as time goes by. At that point, medical intervention is needed.
The tragic truth is that the disease is progressive, and no medical help can reverse the onset of its effects. All anyone can do is make the tragic experience as comfortable for the patient as possible, and more bearable for involved loved ones. As symptoms get worse, the need for regular home healthcare or nursing home admission must be considered.
When the late President Ronald Reagan retired after eight years in the White House, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The symptoms had been noted for several years, including his final year as President. When he went into seclusion, he and his wife, Nancy, called his condition the long goodbye.
That phrase was a kindly, but terribly correct description of the early indicators that Alzheimer’s Disease is slowly, but inevitably taking over the victim’s mind. Some of the symptoms to look for include:
1. Memory lapses: Very early symptoms could be forgetting where items, such as keys and wallet, have been placed in the home. Forgetting to pass on a telephone message and missing appointments are others.
2. The patient shows progressive difficulty with slurred words and errors in speech. Conversations are often interrupted when the patient requires questions to be repeated.
3. Failure to recognize familiar people: One of the most tragic effects of the disease is a progressive failure to recognize family members. The disease’s early effects cause some confusion of identifying family names and faces. At first the victim will laugh about it and get the names correct, but as the problem continues, every face and name become permanently blurred.
4. One of most disturbing problems when the disease is just starting, is that it has a disturbing affect on the patient’s once clear mind and personality. There are frustrations that can be expressed as sudden outbursts of anger, unreasonable demands and feelings of hopelessness.
5. Falls and other injuries:If the Alzheimer’s victim is a fragile, elderly person who already has problems walking, the disease may make it dangerous. Even healthy seniors who experience sudden falls are apt to break bones or suffer worse injuries. As the disease progresses, there are dangers that a pot will be forgotten and left boiling on the stove or other household danger. Caretakers must be alert to all potential dangers.
4. One of the most tragic problems with the early Alzheimer’s victim is that body strength, especially in a still vigorous senior, may remain strong as the mind weakens. One of the dangers caretakers must observe closely is when the victim wanders out of the house, attempts to drive or do whatever other once-familiar activity that has suddenly become dangerous.
Early indicators of Alzheimer’s Disease are not always easy to detect, because they can come on very gradually. Of course, occasionally forgetting a name or a telephone number are not necessarily symptoms of the disease. However, loved ones and other caretakers must always be on the alert for when simple mistakes and forgetfulness become more tragically complex.