A sense of helplessness is a familiar feeling experienced when memory issues become apparent in our loved ones. On the contrary, taking action and helping your loved ones with memory loss is potentially the greatest gift we could ever give them.
Snapshot of Warning Signs for Alzheimer’s
Experiencing memory issues in our later years is common and considered a part of the normal aging process. When there is cognitive decline, these issues become increasingly common and interfere with daily life. Warning signs include:
- Increasingly more forgetful
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Forgetting how to do basic tasks
- Difficulty remembering names or words
- Becoming lost when driving or walking
- Repeatedly asking the same questions
- Changes in behavior, mood, or personality
Memory Screenings: The First Step
Having a history of Alzheimer’s or other dementia in your family or experiencing concerning memory issues is a reason to bring to your doctor’s attention immediately. A simple memory screening is a quick brain health questionnaire with verbal and written responses. The screenings are a significant first step in addressing memory concerns.
In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of the benefits of memory screenings. It’s important to note; however, the screenings do not provide a diagnosis. Instead, they indicate whether the person could benefit from a complete evaluation. If there’s no follow-through with the recommended diagnostics, the benefits die there. Moreover, other factors can cause memory loss too. Many of which resolve symptoms once addressed. A full assessment will check for underlying issues too.
The Gift of Early Diagnosis and Treatment
Family members of loved ones with memory issues can help by encouraging and ensuring they get the help they need. If Alzheimer’s or another dementia is the cause, early diagnosis can be life-changing. For example, your loved one is more likely to benefit longer from available treatments. Also, they can play a more active role in their care planning and life choices through the progression of the disease.
One day, medical treatments will be able to halt or slow the progression of dementia. Though treatments currently available don’t fulfill that promise, ongoing clinical research efforts press on. Individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementia can provide valuable contributions to advancing how we detect and treat these conditions as research volunteers. Participants can learn more about their condition and gain potential access to the latest therapies not yet available to the public.