Be Aware, Be Proactive
Senior discounts are nice. Senior moments, not so much.
Alzheimer’s is known as a disease of the elderly, but younger-onset Alzheimer’s can strike before you are old enough to qualify for your AARP card. It is crucial to know the difference between the benign memory lapses we all experience, such as forgetting someone’s name or misplacing a cell phone, and the early symptoms of dementia.
Anyone can occasionally forget to keep an appointment. Repeatedly forgetting about regularly scheduled activities – such as a weekly bridge game – could indicate a problem.
Not understanding how to use a new app on your mobile device is normal. Feeling utterly lost in your field of expertise is not. Becoming disoriented about things that were once second-nature to you may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s.
Early Detection is Crucial
Ignoring warning signs will not keep dementia away. Denial can make the situation worse, but detection can make it better. The more promptly the diagnosis is made, the earlier treatment can be started and the more effective it can be.
Researchers are working on ways to better diagnose, treat and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. In the future, they may be able to arrest it before it gets worse. Until then, if you or someone close to you experiences ongoing/worsening memory loss, a sense of confusion or trouble completing routine tasks, make an appointment with a physician.
Doing the right thing is not always easy. Doing nothing can make it harder for everyone, including yourself.