WISDOM
What are the early signs of Alzheimers Disease?

03/03/2014

Dear Karen,
How do I know if my mom has Alzheimer’s disease?  What are some of the early signs of this disease?

-Betty

Dear Betty:

Good question, Betty.  Many people, including myself, want to know what signs to look for.  For wisdom on this subject I went to wonderful resource, Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers.  Frank Broyles, is Athletic Director Emeritus for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. His wife, Barbara, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  Frank says, “I had many questions and spent a lot of time looking for answers.  What I learned is contained in my book, Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers.”

One of the first topics which Coach Broyles deals with in his book is what signs to look for.

Frank says, the first signs are that your loved one will:

* Misplace her keys or put her glasses in an unusual place.

* Look up a recipe, but not be able to follow it.

* Start something and forget to finish it.

* Have a hard time keeping up with tasks she has done every day of her adult life.

* Another clue may be if your loved one stops doing things she has always enjoyed, such  as:
-Meeting friends to play cards or bingo
-Helping out at church
-Leaving the house by herself to shop or visit friends

Many people don’t know they should see a doctor when they see some of these
signs.  This is tragic because there are drugs your doctor can prescribe that will
slow down how quickly Alzheimer’s disease causes damage in the brain.

The one thing that usually gets families to the doctor is when their loved one gets lost coming home from work or the store.  This is very common.  When this happens, your loved one may begin to worry about the other things she is having a hard time doing.  She may:

*Begin to limit how much she is around other people
*Become sad or draw into herself
*Stop doing things she has loved to do all of her life
*Stop talking to you

This is a good time to see a doctor and find out what is going on.

Coach Broyles cautions that, “Some family doctors don’t have the extra training needed to find the cause of your loved one’s memory loss.  They may say it is just “old age” and “you should not worry about it.”  Please don’t stop there.  It takes a doctor with special training to find the cause of memory loss.  There may be doctors with this training in your area.  Your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter can help you:”

Web site: http://caregiversunited.com/

24-hour helpline: 800-272-3900

As I mentioned, the above information is from a wonderful resource, Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers.

This Playbook is available nationwide, free of charge, to anyone wanting information on how to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

Playbook on the Web: http://caregiversunited.com/playbook

Thank you Coach Broyles for sharing your wisdom with us.

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