“Yes, but is it dementia?”

So, as a follow up to my last post and to be fair to those of you who were looking for answers as to the signs of dementia, here is that post:

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s/Dementia are:

1.  Memory loss that disrupts daily life.  This does not mean the occasional “milk in the cupboard” or “I forgot the name of something but remembered it later” memory loss.  It is more serious than that.  It’s the “I can’t seem to keep anything straight and feel like I’m losing my mind” type of memory loss.

2.  Challenges in planning and solving problems.  This is not the occasional “oops I forgot an appointment” or “I didn’t balance my check book right” type of problems.  It’s more of the “I’m having difficulty following my favorite banana bread recipe that I’ve made a hundred times” or the “I can’t seem to figure out how to balance my checkbook anymore” issues.

3.  Difficulty completing familiar daily tasks at home, work, or at leisure.  This is not the typical “I forgot a phone number” or “I don’t remember where I put the broom the last time I used it”.  This is the “I don’t remember how to use the washing machine that I’ve had for 10 years” or the “I don’t know how to play my favorite board game” kind of issues.

4.  Confusion with time or place.  This is not the “I’m not sure what day it is, let me check the calendar” or the “I got turned around in the new layout of my favorite store” confusion.  It is the “I’m putting my coat on to go outside during the summertime” or the “I can’t figure out how to get home from my favorite store” confusion.

5.  Trouble understanding visual images or spatial relationships.  This is not the “I’m having more trouble reading the paper lately because my vision is getting poor” kind of visual issues.  It is the “I saw that stop sign, but didn’t react to it timely” or “I just read that article, but can’t tell you what it said” kind of issues.

6.  New problems with words in speaking or writing.  This is not the occasional “I forgot the name of that ‘thingy” kind of problems.  It is the “I just repeated what I said a few minutes ago” or “I called the dog a cat” kind of problems.

7.  Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.  This is not the “I can’t find my keys” kind of misplacement.  This is the “I hid my keys and wallet and I think that someone took them” kind of misplacement.

8.  Decreased or poor judgment.  This is not the “I just bought something overpriced from the t.v. or internet.”  This is the “I just bought a lot of different things that I don’t need or already have four of from the t.v. or internet” kind of poor judgment.

9.  Withdrawal from work or social activities.  This is not the “I just don’t feel like going to another family get together this week” kind of withdrawal.  It’s the “I find excuses not to go to my bridge club because I’m having more difficulty keeping up” kind of withdrawal.

10.  Changes in mood or personality.  This is not the “I’m feeling rather irritable after all twenty grandkids were here” kind of mood change.  This is more like the “I’m suspicious of everyone” or “I’m feeling extremes of joy or depression” kind of changes.

Again, if you are concerned about any of these warning signs in yourself or another, make an appointment with the physician and get it checked out.

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