Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Health

September 20, 2013

Alzheimer’s Association presentation offers valuable information

(Continued)

Withdrawing from work and social activities is another warning sign of an underlying problem. A person suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia may forget how to do a favorite hobby. They may also be trying to hide the disease. Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations is a normal age-related change.

The last of the ten warning signs is changes in mood or personality. Confusion, suspicion, depression, fear and anxiety are common changes with Alzheimer’s and dementia, causing the person to become easily upset at home, work or with friends. These changes may become more frequent and intense as time passes and the disease progresses. Developing a routine and being upset when that routine is disrupted is a normal age-related change.

If one notices any of these signs in themselves or a loved one, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends seeing a doctor as soon as possible. The process of diagnosing Alzheimer’s or dementia should not be a quick process. It requires many tests and extended monitoring to reach an accurate diagnosis. Medication reactions and several other illnesses have symptoms that mimic Alzheimer’s.

McCann suggested making notes of abnormal behavior to take to the doctor’s appointment and she stressed the importance of attending appointments with the patient. She said it is important for families to be honest with each other and the affected person, which may require multiple attempts.

McCann said that while the disease can’t currently be slowed or stopped, medications to treat the symptoms are available. She recommended exploring available treatments and taking part in clinical trials.

The earlier one receives a diagnosis, the earlier one can begin making plans for the future. Transferring power of attorney to a trusted person is very important, as is making one’s wishes known. Finances and assets should be taken care of while the affected person is still capable of making decisions. Much of this can be accomplished through an elder care lawyer. Planning care as the disease progresses will make things easier on the family and the affected person. A strong support network is another vital tool.

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