Here are a few tips to help you distinguish between typical aging and Alzheimer’s disease:
- For many of us, one of the most familiar Alzheimer’s symptoms is an older person getting lost on their way to a familiar destination. An aging loved one getting lost driving to their regular grocery or bank can be a legitimate concern to discuss with their physician.
- If your senior loved one forgets an appointment or task they needed to complete, do they realize it later? If they forget to pick up their medication at the pharmacy, for example, it isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm, if they remember it later. However, someone with Alzheimer’s may not even remember having dropped off the prescription at the drug store.
- Is your loved one struggling to complete multi-step tasks they have done for years? If your mother loved to bake all her life, for example, but now has trouble measuring out the ingredients, forgets steps, or does not finish the dish, it can indicate something more serious than normal aging.
- Does your aging parent have trouble remembering recent conversations and family events? For example, you and your great aunt agree that you will pick her up to attend a family wedding at 4:00. When you arrive, not only is she not ready, but she does not even remember the conversation or the wedding. This is indicative of a more serious memory issue.
We hope these tips help you learn more about the differences between aging and the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. More tips can be found at Alzheimers.org. If you are concerned, talk with your senior loved one’s primary care physician. They will run a few tests and decide if the results merit additional follow-up or a referral to a neurologist for further assessment. Learn more about our programs and how we can assist you and your loved one.