Dementia is the deterioration of intellectual and cognitive brain functions, such as those controlling behavior, memory, and judgment. One common type of dementia is the irreversible and progressive disease called Alzheimer's.

Many suffering from Alzheimer's disease will eventually require a specialized level of senior care that's specifically designed to accommodate the advanced-stage symptoms of the disease. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease extend far beyond those of normal aging and will eventually make even the smallest, simplest task impossible to complete.

The Alzheimer's Association has listed some of the early warning signs of the disease so that families can obtain the care and support they need as early and quickly as possible:

  1. Loss of memory. Those suffering from Alzheimer's disease will frequently forget things, people, places, events, directions, and so forth, even when it's related to something that just happened a few hours ago. They might also frequently and repetitively ask the same questions or recount the same stories.
  2. Difficulty performing everyday activities. Ordinary, everyday tasks such as following a recipe or the rules of a game, driving from home to the grocery store, and so forth become increasingly difficult.
  3. Difficultly planning and problem solving. Developing and/or following any type of complex process, such as a budget or itinerary, become increasingly problematic.
  4. Increased confusion. An Alzheimer's sufferer will increasingly become disoriented and confused by their surroundings. They might find themselves lost in the neighborhood they've resided in for years and be unable to get back to their home.
  5. Communication and language difficulties. A person with Alzheimer's will frequently forget the names of common, everyday objects and people. They might also make substitutions, such as by referring to the car as that thing I drive or their favorite food as that stuff I eat.
  6. Inappropriate placement and/or misplacement of objects. The person might start misplacing objects and/or placing them in peculiar places, such as their scarf in the fridge or their watch in the dishwasher.
  7. Judgment impairments. There might be obvious poor judgment on the part of the person. You might notice he/she is wearing shorts and sandals in the winter; doesn't feel the need to bathe or groom appropriately; isn't keeping up with their normal daily chores; isn't buying the essentials, such as food; or is wasting money on nonessential, sometimes duplicate, items.
  8. Personality/mood swings. It isn't uncommon for there to be noticeable disposition changes. This could mean the person suddenly becomes hostile, irritable, fearful, passive, or otherwise experiences a change from their normal mood and personality. Without provocation, the person might also have sudden mood swings, such as going from cheerful to tearful.
  9. Apathy. The person might not be interested in doing things they once enjoyed and begin spending a great deal of time sleeping or watching television.

If any of the above sound familiar, then you should schedule an appointment with your loved one's health care provider to receive a formal diagnosis, disease information, and potential support outlets.

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