Has your dad been having challenges with calculating the tip at dinner? Has your mother started repeating the same stories over and over? Does your spouse keep losing things and putting them in unusual places? Signs of early stage memory loss are not always clear and can be challenging to identify and manage for family caregivers. In this presentation, Ms. Davis will differentiate the warning signs for early stage memory loss, tips for caregivers on daily living, and make a push for early detection and treatment.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Facts and Figures, the number of people with the disease is projected to rise form more than five million today to nearly 14 million in 2050. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and will cost our country an estimated $226 billion this year alone.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease worsen over time, although the rate at which the disease progresses varies. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may function independently. He or she may still drive, work and be part of social activities. Despite this, the person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses, such as forgetting familiar words or the location of everyday objects. Friends, family or neighbors begin to notice difficulties.
There are few things in life more painful than suspecting your loved one has dementia. The diagnosis involves obtaining a medical history, family history, and nutritional intake, a physical exam, imaging tests, such as a MRI, and lab work to eliminate other possible causes for the memory decline. You can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help you and your loved one maintain a level of independence longer.
Ove the years, we have made progress in our ability to detect Alzheimer’s and have made strides to diagnosis it earlier. With improved understanding of early warning signs we can offer more effective treatment strategies and make it easier for you and your family to live the best life possible with dementia.