June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month; early detection matters

June 5, 2017 in Our News & Bulletins by AssistingAngels

For many seniors struggling with memory loss, the decision to see a physician about symptoms and concerns can be a big one.  Having some knowledge about what to expect and knowing what questions to ask may help.  The website for the Alzheimer’s Association is also a great resource, www.alz.org.  Being aware of terms and procedures can provide a sense of power and reassurance when discussing the important subject of memory loss with others.  Dementia, for example, is the general term for a group of symptoms that affect mental functions such as memory and reasoning.  There are many types of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease being the most common.  Some other forms of dementia are vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease with dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies and Frontotemporal dementia.  Early detection is a key to better quality of life and slowing or easing symptoms and decline.  Consulting a geriatrician or neurologist is a good start.

WHEN VISITING THE DOCTOR:

(1) Prepare by writing down pertinent information such as:  when did you first notice changes in memory or behavior?  Do these changes happen at a certain time of day like in the evening?  How do difficulties with memory impact your daily life?  And of course, bring any current medications and a list of medical history.

(2) Think ahead of questions you might want to ask the physician like:  What medications are available for memory improvement and what are the side effect?  If I have side effects, what other choices can I consider?  If it is Alzheimer’s, what should I expect next?  Is there a support group in my area?  Can you refer me to a specialist?

(3) Consider specifics regarding your memory challenges to share with your physician:  Do you or your loved one repeat things over and over? Do you have trouble with appointments,  paying bills, remembering medications or the location of familiar places?

Everyone may encounter some mild memory loss with age or illness, but when that memory loss repeatedly impacts  your daily life, it may be time to consult your physician and ask about testing for dementia or specifically Alzheimer’s disease.

For support or more information, call Assisting Angels Homecare at 864-288-7100, visit the website www.assistingangels.com or attend the Alzheimer’s Association support group held at the Laurens, SC location 644 North Harper St. on the 3rd Tuesday of each month 3-4pm.

by Lisa Yarber, MS, CDP 

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