By Carelyn Sheppard
There are 10 warning signs used for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease which the Chester Lions learned at their meeting in October.
Sharon Condrey, a representative of the Greater Richmond chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, spoke to the club about the topic and distributed information about programs for patients and caregivers.
Occasionally, typical age-related changes and degeneration are confused with the signs of Alzheimer’s, which is one type of dementia and the sixth-leading cause of death.
Early detection of the disease will have a tremendous effect on the patient’s quality of life. Those signs which are use as indicators prior to further testing and diagnosis include: memory loss, difficulty with planning, problem solving or completing familiar tasks, confusion about time, place, visual images and spatial relationships. Most people recognize the signs of difficulty with words and misplacing things, but poor judgment, depression, withdrawal from and avoidance of work, social engagements or activities, and changes in mood or personality may also be early indicators of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The most frequently misunderstood thing about the disease concerns the difference between signs or indications of normal age-related changes in behavior, as opposed to those caused by Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.
As people age, it is perfectly normal to occasionally forget things, whether that is a word, a name, a date, or where something was placed or misplaced. If or when any of it reaches the point of being unmanageable, as opposed to merely inconvenient or awkward, “dementia” may become the diagnosis.