Everyone becomes somewhat forgetful with age. Mild memory loss is usually not something to be overly concerned with, but when it begins to interfere with daily activities, it may be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you or a loved one have not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to understand the potential risks for developing the disease and to make lifestyle changes to help avoid dementia.
What are the causes/risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s?
- Research is still being conducted on the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, and as of now, there is no definitive cause or pattern of inheritance.
- Studies show that chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, diet, exercise, and social engagement may play a role in whether or not a person develops the disease.
- Familial or early-onset Alzheimer’s is caused by an inherited gene mutation, but only manifests in less than 5% of patients, developing between the ages of 30 to 60.
- The late-onset form of the disease typically occurs after age 60. Studies show that increased age is a risk factor for this form of Alzheimer’s.
Knowing more about the disease and its warning signs can help family members and caregivers know when they are dealing with normal memory loss and when it might be something more serious. Alzheimer’s disease typically begins after 60, and the risk increases with age. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are ten warning signs for Alzheimer’s:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life – forgetting recently learned information or important dates
- Trouble in planning or solving problems – difficulty following familiar instructions, recipes, how to pay monthly bills, etc.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks – trouble driving to or navigating to familiar places
- Time and place confusion – losing track of days or seasons
- Trouble understanding visual images or spatial relationships – difficulty judging distance or determining colors
- New problems with speaking or writing – repetitive speech, trouble following conversations
- Misplacing things, inability to retrace steps – putting things in unusual places, may accuse others of stealing
- Decreased or poor judgment – problems dealing with money, paying less attention to grooming
- Withdrawal from work or social activities – shying away from social functions or tasks
- Changes in mood or personality – easily upset, confused, suspicious, fearful, etc.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month and this year’s theme is “Dementia: Can we reduce the risk?” If you’d like more information about Alzheimer’s disease and some ways to help improve brain activity and engagement, contact Heaven at Home of Denton, TX. Our caregivers can help older adults stay active and engaged while remaining in the comfort and familiarity of home.