March 21, 2012

The First Five

Welcome back to the Griswold Blog. As you may know, we’re dedicating this week’s posts to diffusing the confusion about dementia. This post is about 5 of the warning signs of dementia and it’s most common form, Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

These are the types of things you should be cognizant of if you think your loved one may be suffering from dementia or AD:

1. Disruptive Memory Loss — According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over half of people over the age of 65 will have some memory complaints. However, only 10% of elderly people will develop dementia. So the important word here is “disruptive.” If the memory trouble is severe enough to disrupt daily life or routine activities, then dementia may be the cause. If your loved one is forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same information over and over or relying on others to handle things that he or she would normally do, it’s time to talk to a medical professional.

2. Problems with Planning & Numbers – A decline in ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers is a major warning sign. This includes having trouble following familiar recipes, keeping track of monthly bills and/or concentrating in general.

3. Forgetting the Familiar — When an individual has dementia or Alzheimer’s the familiar loses its familiarity. Does your loved one get confused when driving to familiar locations or forget the rules of a favorite game?

4. Losing Track of Time or Place – Dates, seasons and the general passing of time become difficult to keep track of for a person with dementia. If an event is not happening immediately, he or she may have trouble understanding it. This is the category of the most renowned dementia-related complication — forgetting where they are and/or how they got there.

5. Visual & Spatial Confusion — Cataracts are highly associated with dementia and AD.* Does your loved one have difficulty reading, judging distance or determining color and contrast? Perception is also depreciated with dementia.

*Researchers are finding that the saying, “The eyes are the window to the soul” may hold more truth than we thought. Certain tests — involving fluorescence drops and infrared light — may be able to distinguish a “common cataract” from a “dementia or AD cataract.”

Subscribe to the blog or check back soon. You don’t want to miss our next post on the final 5 warning signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s.