The Warning Signs of Alzheimers Dementia

Alzheimers Dementia is one of the illnesses we probably all dread as we grow older whether it's ourselves we worry about or our loved ones. Unfortunately there are many baby boomers who have a parent who suffers with Alzheimers Dementia who they're caring for.


Alzheimers strips people of their faculties, their dignity and quality of life bit by bit. Unfortunately in the early stages it is difficult to recognize and many symptoms are accepted as part of growing old.

Only 40% of people with dementia will receive a diagnosis.

That means 60% of people suffering with Alzheimers Dementia are never diagnosed.

The sad thing is that if treatment is given in the early stages it can delay the onset of worsening symptoms. In other words it can buy someone time to carry on enjoying their life.

After my Father died I started spending a lot more time with my Mother. It had been a joke in the family for some years that she was always losing things. Dad used to say he spent half of his time finding things Mum had lost.

When I look back now there were several instances where she behaved in a completely irrational and inappropriate manner in social situations, but none of us mentioned it or thought much about it at the time.

It was only as time went on that I became aware of how bad Mum's memory was, but even then a lot of it we put down to the grief of losing my Father. It was only after I read an article in a magazine about Alzheimers that the alarm bells started to ring and I decided to mention my concerns to the family GP.

The statistics for Alzheimers Dementia are shocking:-

  • There are currently 750,000 people with dementia in the UK.
  • There are over 16,000 younger people with dementia in the UK.
  • There are over 11,500 people with dementia from black and minority ethnic groups in the UK.
  • There will be over a million people with dementia by 2025.
  • Two thirds of people with dementia are women.
  • The proportion of people with dementia doubles for every 5 year age group.
  • One third of people over 95 have dementia.
  • 60,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to dementia.
  • Delaying the onset of dementia by 5 years would reduce deaths directly attributable to dementia by 30,000 a year.
  • The financial cost of dementia to the UK is over £20 billion a year.
  • Family carers of people with dementia save the UK over £6 billion a year.
  • 64% of people living in care homes have a form of dementia.
  • Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community while one third live in a care home.


What is Alzheimers Dementia?

This video will help you understand this hideous disease.

Senior Moments

As we get older we all have what we describe as "senior moments"

  • Forgetting where you left things you use regularly, such as glasses or keys.
  • Forgetting names of acquaintances or blocking one memory with a similar one, such as calling a grandson by your son’s name.
  • Occasionally forgetting an appointment.
  • Having trouble remembering what you’ve just read, or the details of a conversation.
  • Walking into a room and forgetting why you entered.
  • Becoming easily distracted.
  • Not quite being able to retrieve information you have “on the tip of your tongue.”

These things don't affect the way we live our lives and happen to most adults at some time or other. If we forget someone's name we are usually able to recall it later.


Symptoms That May Indicate Dementia

When memory loss becomes so severe that it disrupts a person's day to day ability to live independently or work, or it begins to affect their hobbies, social activities, and family relationships, they may be experiencing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia.

  • Difficulty performing simple tasks (paying bills, dressing appropriately, washing up); forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times.
  • Trouble making choices; May show poor judgment or behave in socially inappropriate ways.
  • Unable to recall or describe specific instances where memory loss caused problems.
  • Gets lost or disoriented even in familiar places; unable to follow directions.
  • Words are frequently forgotten, misused, or garbled; Repeats phrases and stories in same conversation.

If you have a loved one that is displaying any of the above signs over a period of time, then it is best to get it checked out with the family GP.

There are lots of other things that can cause disorientation or forgetfulness such as side affects from medication, infections or depression to name but a few. However if you are in any doubt it is worth seeking advice from your Doctor.

In Mum's case we were referred fairly rapidly to the local "Memory Clinic" and she was prescribed one of the Alzheimers drugs, 'Reminyl'. For a few months it did seem to halt the deterioration and for a time gave her back her confidence and zest for life. I'm sure that if she had been treated earlier the outcome may have been more positive.


Are you caring for someone with alzheimers dementia?

If you're caring for someone with Alzheimers dementia it's worthwhile going to the the Alzheimers Society website.

There's so much good information to guide you through what to expect and what help and support is available.

Check out the information about exemption from council tax under Legal and Financial, this can free up money to go towards help or care at home.

Care UK has published a free new guide to help families caring for a loved one living with dementia.

The publication, As Easy as ABC, is based on their philosophy of Activity Based Care and brings together 100 practical suggestions from specialist teams working in care homes across the country.

You will find a link to download the Guide here www.careuk.com/our-services/care-and-support-older-people/caring-people-dementia


Norman McNamara's Story

Norman McNamara was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's at the age of 52. He has written a book about his journey with Alzheimers Dementia it's called "Silent Voice`s", My Battle With Alzheimer`s Rages On. He is four years into his journey with Alzheimers Dementia. The following are his own words explaining why he has written his book.

"I am 52yrs old. I was diagnosed with heart failure at the age of 42yrs old and then diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 52yrs old, I intend beating both! I am writing this so all my friends can understand how far I have come with it and hopefully forgive but remember me in the future when the posts stop. Also to all those who don’t know me but who read it then thank you and I hope it helps if ever you or anybody of your friends/family are touched by this awful disease."

You can buy Norman's book here at createspace.com.

“Stan Goldberg” the award winning author of "Lessons for the Living:" Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage at the End of Life reviews Norman's book....... "those of us who deal with chronic and terminal illnesses often have to guess what our patients and loved ones are feeling. That's no longer necessary.

In "Silent Voices," Norm McNamara courageously tells us what it feels like to have one's identity stripped away by Alzheimer's. What many can only partially imagine happens as memories are lost, is confirmed in this marvellous book. Besides being a great read, this is a guidebook for caregivers who want to understand what their loved ones are experiencing.

Yes, it's a journey through Early Onset Alzheimer's, but the fears, loves, and losses transcend all chronic and terminal illnesses. I recommend it for everyone who is a caregiver or expects to become one."


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