Spotting the Signs of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Patient with Healthcare WorkerAlzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., yet cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Research shows that between 2000-2008, out of the top six leading causes of death in the U.S., only Alzheimer’s disease reported an increase in mortality. This epidemic has a wide range of repercussions, including financial and emotional concerns for both patient and family. Home health nurses are some of the best trained medical and nursing professionals available to treat and care for an individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. With an estimated 800,000 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia living alone, qualified and educated Home Health Nurses are becoming more in demand, especially as this disease continues to take its toll.

Signs of Alzheimer’s

Memory loss that interrupts daily life: forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events. Asking the same questions over and over, relying on devices, notes or family members to remember things that used to be handled by the person themselves.

Issues with planning or problem solving: Some people can lose the ability to develop or follow through with plans at home or work, including financial or life skills such as cooking and cleaning. Focus and concentration may be impaired, as well.

Trouble completing normal or regular tasks: Remembering common routes to the grocery store or work, as well as work left undone or difficulty with leisure activities that involve formerly familiar rules or guidelines.

Confusion about dates,  time or place: Forgetting how they got to a place, what the day is or that weeks have passed are common symptoms of those affected by Alzheimer’s.

Trouble comprehending visual and spatial relationships: From typical vision problems can spring difficulties with reading, color or distance.

Problems comprehending words in speaking or writing:  Conversation skills may decrease, either because of comprehension issues or the inability to verbalize their own thoughts.

Misplacing items: Losing an item by putting it in a strange place, or the inability to retrace steps to find an item.

A diminished or poor decision-making ability: Whether money, the proper clothing for the weather, or issues with medication, an Alzheimer’s patient can have difficulty making these important decisions.

Withdrawal from home, work or social activities:  Social skills can be affected due to confusion, memory loss or overall changes in the personality.

Changes in mood and personality: Anxiety, fear, suspicion, depression and confusion are common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially when outside of the home or a comfort zone.

With the continuous growth of this pervasive disease, and the large numbers of Baby Boomers entering into their senior years, more home health care nurses are needed than ever. While preventing Alzheimer’s is currently not possible, having the best health care possible can make the effects of this disease less traumatic for both the patient and loved ones.

by Linda Bright

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