WHAT IS ALZHEIMER'S?
ALZHEIMER'S AND DEMENTIA BASICS
WHAT IS ALZHEIMER'S LINKS
ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE OVERVIEW
WEBMD ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE LINKS
THE SEVEN STAGES OF DEMENTIA
10 WARNING SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER'S
SAFETY FOR SENIOR'S WITH ALZHEIMER'S
ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE LINKS
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Alzheimer's disease (AD), also known in medical
literature as Alzheimer disease, is the most
common form of dementia.
Most often, AD is diagnosed in people over 65
years of age, although the less-prevalent
early-onset Alzheimer's can occur much earlier.
Although Alzheimer's disease develops differently
for every individual, there are many common
symptoms. Early symptoms are often mistakenly
thought to be 'age-related' concerns, or
manifestations of stress. In the early stages,
the most common symptom is difficulty in
remembering recent events. When AD is suspected,
the diagnosis is usually confirmed with tests
that evaluate behaviour and thinking abilities,
often followed by a brain scan if available.
As the disease advances,
symptoms can include;
irritability and aggression,
trouble with language,
long-term memory loss.
As the sufferer declines they often withdraw from
family and society. Gradually, bodily functions
are lost, ultimately leading to death. Since the
disease is different for each individual, predicting
how it will affect the person is difficult. AD
develops for an unknown and variable amount of time
before becoming fully apparent, and it can progress
undiagnosed for years.
Alzheimer's disease (AD)
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Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that
causes problems with memory, thinking
Symptoms usually develop slowly and get
worse over time, becoming severe enough
to interfere with daily tasks.
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Alzheimer's is the most common form of
dementia, a general term for memory loss
and other intellectual abilities serious
enough to interfere with daily life.
Alzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to
80 percent of dementia cases.
Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging,
although the greatest known risk factor is
increasing age, and the majority of people
with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But
Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age.
Up to 5 percent of people with the disease
have early onset Alzheimer's (also known as
younger-onset), which often appears when
someone is in their 40s or 50s.
Alzheimer's worsens over time. Alzheimer's
is a progressive disease, where dementia
symptoms gradually worsen over a number of
years. In its early stages, memory loss is
mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's,
individuals lose the ability to carry on a
conversation and respond to their environment.
Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of
death in the United States.
Those with Alzheimer's live an average of
eight years after their symptoms become
noticeable to others, but survival can range
from four to 20 years, depending on age and
other health conditions.
What Is Alzheimer's?
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10 Signs of Alzheimer's
Alzheimers disease diagnosis
Stages of Alzheimer's
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Alzheimer's disease is the most common
type of dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer's,
including early-onset Alzheimer's, include
problems with memory, judgment, and thinking,
which makes it hard to work or take part in
As the stages of Alzheimer's progress, memory
loss and other signs of Alzheimer's become
more apparent. Many people find help with
Alzheimer's drugs, but there is no cure for
this form of dementia.
Alzheimer's Disease Overview
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Diagnosis & Tests
Living & Managing
Overview & Facts
Support & Resources
Symptoms & Types
Treatment & Care
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The stages of dementia
are as follows:
No impairment. At this stage, there are
no obvious signs of dementia and people
are still able to function independently.
Dementia signs are barely noticeable and
simply appear to be the kind of forgetfulness
associated with aging — such as misplacing
keys but finding them again after some
At this stage, patients are “usually able to
do basic activities of daily living,” says
Shah — which means they can perform their
daily routines, such as getting up, going to
the bathroom, getting dressed, and so on,
without difficulty. Symptoms of dementia at
this stage may include:
Some forgetfulness and memory loss
Losing items without being able to retrace
steps to find them
Slight trouble managing finances, such as
balancing a checkbook
Confusion while driving
Trouble managing medications
Loss of concentration
At this stage patients have “trouble doing
routine tasks that they always did, such
as cooking, laundry, or using the phone,”
explains Shah. Other dementia symptoms
during this stage include:
Trouble holding urine (incontinence)
Increase in memory loss and forgetfulness
Inability to use or find the right words
Difficulty doing challenging mental math
exercises, such as counting backwards from
100 by 7
Increase in social withdrawal
At this stage, dementia patients will need
some assistance with their day-to-day
activities. Symptoms of moderately-severe
Increase in memory loss, including inability
to remember home address, phone number, or
other personal details
Confusion about location or chain of events
Trouble with less challenging mental math
Needing help to select appropriate clothing
for the climate, season, or occasion
“Caregivers have to help a lot more with
day-to-day activities” at this stage, says
Shah. Dementia signs at the severe stage
Needing help to get dressed
Requiring help with toileting, such as
wiping and flushingWandering and becoming
lost if not supervised
Inability to recall the names of family
members or caregivers, but still being
able to recognize familiar faces
Changes in personality or behavior, such
as increased paranoia or even hallucinations
This is the final stage of the disease.
Symptoms of dementia during this stage
Loss of language skills
Loss of awareness of surroundings
Requiring help to eat
Lack of control over urination
Loss of muscle control to smile, swallow,
or even walk or sit without support
The Seven Stages of Dementia
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This list is for information
only and not a substitute for
a consultation with a qualified
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s,
especially in the early stages, is forgetting
recently learned information. Others include
forgetting important dates or events; asking
for the same information over and over; relying
on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or
electronic devices) or family members for things
they used to handle on their own.
Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but
remembering them later.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some
people may experience changes in their ability to
develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They
may have trouble following a familiar recipe or
keeping track of monthly bills. They may have
difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do
things than they did before.
Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at
work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s often find
it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may
have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing
a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite
Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a
microwave or to record a television show.
4. Confusion with time or place. People with
Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and
the passage of time. They may have trouble
understanding something if it is not happening
immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they
are or how they got there.
Getting confused about the day of the week but
figuring it out later.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and
spatial relationships. For some people, having
vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. They
may have difficulty reading, judging distance
and determining color or contrast. In terms of
perception, they may pass a mirror and think
someone else is in the room. They may not
recognize their own reflection.
Vision changes related to cataracts.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following
or joining a conversation. They may stop in the
middle of a conversation and have no idea how to
continue or they may repeat themselves. They may
struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the
right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g.,
calling a watch a "hand clock").
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace
steps. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things
in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable
to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes,
they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more
frequently over time.
Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair
of glasses or the remote control.
8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer's
may experience changes in judgment or decision making.
For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing
with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They
may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves
Making a bad decision once in a while.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person
with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from
hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports.
They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports
team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby.
They may also avoid being social because of the changes
they have experienced.
Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social
10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and
personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change.
They can become confused, suspicious, depressed,
fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home,
at work, with friends or in places where they are out
of their comfort zone.
Developing very specific ways of doing things and
becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
If you have questions about any of these warning
signs, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends
consulting a physician. Early diagnosis provides
the best opportunities for treatment, support and
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
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Caregivers of seniors afflicted with Alzheimer’s
disease face great challenges everyday.
Significant time and attention is focused on
activities to keep your senior loved one healthy
and happy, with their safety a continuous concern.
We have some tips that can help you make your
senior’s home, or home away from home if they
are visiting, a safer place to let them keep
both a degree of independence and as much
freedom from injury as you can provide – not
to mention providing some peace of mind for
their loved ones.
1. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
in hallways near sleeping areas on all levels of
your home. You should also place one near the
kitchen area where stove fires may be a risk.
Be sure to replace the batteries regularly.
2. Install secure locks on all doors and windows.
If necessary, install alarms on key exit points
so you can be alerted if your senior loved one
attempts to leave the house without your
3. Find a secure hiding spot for a house key outside
of your home in case your senior locks you out of
the house. Also keep a spare key handy for any
interior doors that may be accidentally locked,
such as bathrooms, basement or garage doors.
4. Use childproof devices such as outlet plugs,
drawer locks on kitchen drawers, medicine cabinet
locks, nonskid mats and strips in the tub, etc.
These are usually readily available and easy to
install. Remove knobs from the stove, oven,
washer and dryer. Dismantle or disable the garbage
disposal and install traps in kitchen drains to
5. Be sure all stairways inside and outside your
home have handrails that extend beyond the first
and last step. Install safe, nonskid flooring
on the stairs and keep all wooden stairs in good
repair to prevent falling. Install grab bars in
the bathroom and any other location, such as
closets, that might pose a risk.
6. Store certain items that can pose a danger out
of the reach of your senior loved, including
plastic bags, lighters, guns, sharp knives, sharp
tools, power tools, alcohol, medications,
poisonous plants, cleaning products and chemicals.
7. Avoid clutter throughout passageways and living
areas, as that can pose a fall risk. Remove
portable space heaters or fans. Remove extension
electrical cords that can easily be tripped over.
8. Maintain adequate lighting throughout the
interior and exterior of your senior’s home.
9. Remove throw rugs. Eliminate any areas of uneven
surfaces that could cause a trip and fall.
10. Keep you senior’s water heater at 120 degrees
to prevent scalding.
11. Place decals on sliding door windows to assure
the glass is visible.
12. Install a yard fence to allow your senior loved
one room to roam. Keep patio areas free from debris,
uneven surfaces, chemicals, limit pool access and
secure barbecue grill.
Whether or not you can leave your senior loved one
home alone after you have improved the safety of his
or her home environment is an issue you should
discuss with your Alzheimer’s expert or other health
care professional. Allow them to guide you and
follow their advice for maximum safety.
The changes that you make now may not be all the
changes you will need. Alzheimer’s disease is
progressive, therefore behavior changes in your
senior may mean that you will have to review his
or her environment on a regular basis to be sure
there are no further modifications that are
required for safety.
Modifying the kitchen may involve some time and
effort, but in the long run, your efforts will
pay off, not only for your elderly parent, but
also for all members of the family.
It's not an easy task, but with a little planning
and a developed course of action that may be
initiated as increasing needs demand, you can help
make the kitchen one of the safest areas of the
house, and not the other way around.
12 Home Safety Tips for Seniors with Alzheimer’s
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5 Reasons Why Music Boosts Brain Activity
25 Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
99 Activities for Elderly & Seniors
101 Activities for Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet
Alzheimer;s Disease Research Centers
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
Food, Eating and Alzheimer’s
Helping Alzheimer’s Sufferers Cope with the Loss of a Loved One: A Guide for Caregivers
The New Breed of Service Dog: Canine Caregivers for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients
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