Signs Your Loved One May Have Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is one of the biggest difficulties affecting our seniors today. An estimated 44 million seniors currently
have Alzheimer’s, although most cases aren’t yet diagnosed. Recent studies suggest that veterans who experience traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder are at an even higher risk than the rest of the population of contracting Alzheimer’s
It pays to recognize it when it occurs. While there’s no cure, there are treatments that can slow the effects of the disease, and veterans and their family members can tap into special services to help cover the costs of care.
10 Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Keep in mind that memory loss as you age is normal and many of these symptoms are likely to occur with people who don’t have Alzheimer’s, but if your loved one is experiencing multiple symptoms on this list and any of them with a growing frequency, you should consider heading to the doctor to see what they say.
- Repeating the same questions over and over again
Do you hear a lot of the same questions asked repeatedly? Questions you’ve already answered multiple times – maybe even that same day?
- Leaving notes with basic information around the house
Alzheimer’s patients often try to stave off acknowledging the illness by writing themselves notes to help themselves remember basic tasks. Do you see a lot of little sticky notes around the house?
- Trouble accomplishing simple tasks
Alzheimer’s makes it hard to take care of all those little day-to-day tasks that used to be easy (if a chore), like paying the bills or doing housework. Does your loved one seem to have trouble accomplishing these basic tasks?
- Difficulty following a story or conversation
Loss of short-term memory makes it hard to keep up with linear stories or conversations. Do you find your loved one starting to get lost during conversations, or being confused by storylines on their favorite TV show?
- A hard time keeping up with items
Many people struggle with remembering where they put their keys last, but for Alzheimer’s patients it’s a much more regular occurrence. Does your loved one struggle to find items like keys, jewelry, or clothes regularly? Do they often end up in strange places when they are found?
- Difficulty with directions
People suffering from Alzheimer’s will have a hard time remembering where they’re going and how to get there – even for routes that are familiar. Does your loved one get lost regularly or show up late to things with no explanation?
- Trouble communicating
Alzheimer’s patients will often have a hard time communicating concepts or remembering the words they want to use. Does your loved one seem to have more trouble than usual communicating with you?
- Difficulty maintaining focus
Someone with Alzheimer’s will have a hard time staying focused on one thing. Is your loved one easily distracted and prone to not finishing what they’ve started?
- Changes in mood
People with Alzheimer’s are more likely to suffer from depression and mood swings. A previously patient person will get angry much more easily, for instance. Does your loved one behave differently than they used to and get upset more often over minor complaints?
- More marked changes in mood during the evening
One well-documented symptom of Alzheimer’s is sundowning – the incidence of mood changes most often occurring late in the day. Do you find your loved one gets more upset or moody in the evening?
Services that Can Help
If a lot of the items on that list sounded familiar to you, you should head to the doctor to see if they feel an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is merited.
A veteran with Alzheimer’s will need a high level of care as the disease progresses, which can cause serious difficulties for family members who have to either give up working to take care of their loved one or try to cover costs they can’t afford. For any veteran over 65 though, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers the benefit called the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Pension (often called the A&A pension).
The pension helps cover costs for services like in-home care, assisted living, nursing homes, and hospice care. It can also pay family members who choose to stay home as caregivers so they’re not giving up an income in the process. If your loved one does get that Alzheimer’s diagnosis, let their service to the country help pay them back in the form of service in their old age. Take advantage of the A&A pension to make a hard time a little easier on your family. To find out if you or your loved one is eligible for the A&A pension and how to apply for the benefit, click here.