Published on: January 18, 2011
by Matt Johnson for Health Bridge:
I lost my keys yesterday. I mean lost them. I turned the house upside down. Nothing. I sat my kids down for an Andy Sipowicz style interrogation. None of them cracked.
Then I found them. Bathroom counter. As my mother would say, “if they were a snake, they would have bit you.” The good news is, losing my keys does not mean I have Alzheimer’s Disease.
As a senior caregiver, I’m keenly aware of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, published by the Alzheimer’s Association. Each is an indication that you might have the beginnings of the disease. But, they’re all awfully close to normal aging processes.
In order to let out a collective sigh of relief, below we’ll walk through 5 perfectly normal parts of the aging process. Then, we’ll walk through the signals that may indicate that there is Alzheimer’s Disease present.
5 Signs that You Don’t Have Alzheimer’s Disease (And what to look for next)
1. Occasionally forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.
We all forget names every once in a while – and that’s OK. Some people are more forgetful than others. If you forget a name or a date, but when prompted you can recall it, you’re just experiencing a normal part of aging.
What’s a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease? When memory loss begins to negatively affect daily life – like forgetting a cardiologist appointment and not remembering you ever scheduled it in the first place.
2. Making occasional mistakes when balancing your checkbook.
A comment our care managers hear a lot is, “my dad is having trouble balancing his checkbook, so I think he has Alzheimer’s Disease.” The most common follow up question is, “was your father good at balancing his checkbook before?”
The fact is some people have a tough time with facts and figures. Making a mistake in the check register doesn’t mean you have AD.
What’s a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease? Major challenges in planning or problem solving could be a sign of AD. Specifically, when something becomes considerably tougher than it was before.
3. Having a hard time with the new cable remote.
New technology is tricky. It’s perfectly OK if you fumble around with the UVerse remote for the first few months. In fact, you may never master the DVR and that doesn’t mean you have AD.
What’s a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease? Difficulty completing familiar tasks. If you’ve played golf for years, but now you’re struggling to remember the rules, then it’s time to discuss memory care with your doctor.
4. Getting confused about the what day it is, but figuring it out.
Especially for the recently retired, it can be surprisingly tough to keep track of days. If you get mixed up about the day of the week, but you get your bearings and get back on track, you’re probably experiencing normal age related forgetfulness.
What’s a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease? People with AD are easily confused about date and time. They often find it difficult to monitor the passage of time as well.
5. Vision changes due to cataracts.
If you began wearing reading glasses in your forties, you’re in a pretty big club. Some of us will develop cataracts in our sixties and seventies. None of this means we have Alzheimer’s Disease.
What’s a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease? People with AD often have difficulty discerning spatial relationships and distances, but do not have cataracts.
It’s true that many of us (including me) are scared of Alzheimer’s Disease. To be vigilant in our fight against AD, we have to understand the differences between normal aging and the disease.
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