Posted by Star Lawrence of HEALTH’Sass
I took care of my mother for 18 years. She had severe memory issues–though not a formal diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Now, of course, I dread the idea of developing the same disabilities.
About 10% of those over 65 have some form of dementia–by 85, that figure is 30%-50%..
Geriatric specialist Elizabeth Landsverk, MD, founder of ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, says we do become more forgetful as we age, but there is no need to become unnerved by every memory lapse. For one thing, dementia is not just about not remembering and involves issues with communicating and reasoning. One early sign is not where you put your car keys, but not knowing how to drive to the store by a route you have taken thousands of times.
Dementia also impairs daily activities.
Examples of things you should worry about and those which are “normal.”
–Forgetting where you put your glasses–NORMAL. Putting the bills in the laundry bin–NOT NORMAL.
–Forgetting why you walked into a room–NORMAL. Confusion when writing bills–NOT NORMAL.
–Making an occasional bad purchase or decision–NORMAL. Starting to mismanage money–NOT NORMAL.
–Forgetting where you are headed in the car–NORMAL. Getting lost in your own neighborhood–NOT NORMAL.
–Having a “down” day–NORMAL. Dramatic mood swings, persistent apathy, or a change in personality–NOT NORMAL.
My mother decided to buy her favorite cab driver a car and a gun. NOT NORMAL. She also started using profanity, which she had n ever done in her life–NOT NORMAL.
There are tests you can take–even though some do not show up poor judgment. Why take a test? To me this is a good question. There are support options, if not cures, Landsverk assures.
Her main message? Don’t talk yourself into having this if you don’t have it.
Posted by Star Lawrence Health’Sass
Elizabeth (Dr Liz) has over twenty years of experience in providing medical care to the elders. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care Medicine. Dr Landsverk founded ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, a house calls practice, to address the challenging medical and behavioral issues often facing older patients and their families.