More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to grow three times by 2050. With so many people afflicted with the disease, a couple groups of researchers nationwide are currently working on finding a way to detect Alzheimer’s early on.
Occupational therapists see the pain that this disease can be for both the patient and their families on a personal level. Cognitive abilities are impacted and lives are shattered.With the trauma that it causes, it has become the goal of researchers to learn more about combating the issue.
The Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic is making strides to detect the disease early on and work on preventative measures. One of the scariest things associated with the disease is that so little is actually known about it. Researchers are looking to find key information about genetic prepositions that cause it to run in families. Additionally, nutrition is being studied to formulate connections.
10 Symptoms of Alzheimer’s (According to the Alzheimer’s Association)
1. Memory loss that distracts daily life
Frequently forgetting appointments and remembering them later, constantly asking the same question over and over.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
Making mistakes when balancing the checkbook or following a familiar recipe.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
Trouble driving or remembering the rules of a familiar game.
4. Confusion with time or place
Getting confused about what day of the week it is and remembering then.
5.Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
Judging distance can make driving more challenging than ever.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
Finding that it’s hard to chime into conversations or finding yourself saying the same things repeatedly.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
An early sign may be forgetting where you leave things and accusing other people of stealing things.
8. Decreased or poor judgement
Not keeping up with personal hygiene or falling for telemarketer calls.
9. Withdraw from work or social activities
Hobbies, work events, and other social activities may be daunting and cause weariness or avoidance.
10. Changes in mood and personality
Developing new personality traits like depression, fear, or anxiety that you never had before.
Something as simple as noticing a patient seems too confused to dress properly for the season or finding that a person gets easily distracted and wanders off can indicate early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Allied healthcare professionals should be on the look out for these potential signs of Alzheimer’s in their patients and talk to them about the proper courses of action. The American Occupational Therapy Association says OTs can help these patients by:
- Helping the person with Alzheimer’s do things independently,
- Keeping the person with Alzheimer’s safe,
- Preventing falls and other injuries,
- Safeguarding against wandering,
- Helping families maintain an emotional connection.