The slowing down of the body and brain is a normal part of the aging process. Memory changes occur as well during old age, and it’s common to have difficulty remembering the names of people, places and other common things.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, here are 5 typical age-related changes:

  1. Making a bad decision occasionally
  2. Missing a monthly payment once in a while
  3. Forgetting the day of week, but remembering it soon afterwards or later in the day
  4. Forgetting a word from time to time
  5. Losing an item occasionally, but remembering the location later

Dementia is a group of conditions characterized by impairment of brain functions, such as loss of memory and judgment that may interfere with daily functioning. It is not a disease, but is a condition that often occurs in old age.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It should not be confused with the normal signs of aging, and it requires medical intervention. Alzheimer’s disease causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. In extreme cases, leads to the loss of ability to carry on conversations and can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the causes of Alzheimer’s disease are still unknown. In 2013, almost 5 million people in the U.S. were living with this condition, and these numbers are expected to rise by 3 times as much by the year 2050. Alzheimer’s disease commonly occurs in:

  • People of 60 years or older
  • People with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. People with Alzheimer’s disease require a strong support network, which includes a good medical care team and home caregivers. HealthTap’s Dr. Darren Gitelman (a specialist in Neurology) says that “it’s important to get a proper examination by a physician trained to evaluate patients with memory loss, as there are many causes of memory loss.

Being able to recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s disease is important for caregivers as well as family members. Here are 11 warning signs that you or someone you love may have Alzheimer’s:

  1. Progressive memory loss that disrupts daily activities
  2. Difficulty with planning and problem solving
  3. Difficulty with or taking long to complete familiar tasks at home or work
  4. Confusion with time or location and gets lost easily
  5. Problems with vision and difficulty interpreting visual images
  6. Difficulty with speaking words or writing
  7. Difficulty with remembering where items are kept or misplacing items in odd places
  8. Poor judgment
  9. Changes in mood and personality
  10. Repeats questions or phrases during a conversation
  11. Withdrawal from social activities

If you notice that your loved one is experiencing any of the above signs, care and support services are readily available. Whenever in doubt, don’t ignore the warning signs and schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. HealthTap doctors are available for you 24/7.

Author: Simitha Singh Rambiritch

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