Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurological condition in which the nerve cells of the brain die. The disease usually begins to affect people in their mid-60s and continues to progress over time. Early signs are often attributed to aging or ordinary forgetfulness. As the disease advances, cognitive abilities including the ability to make decisions and perform everyday tasks erode and personality changes and difficult behaviors may emerge.
AD is broken into stages: early, middle and late. It is not unusual for people with Alzheimer's disease to have good and bad days. For example, a person with early-stage AD may not show symptoms one day only to have trouble remembering names or finding the milk in the refrigerator the next.
- Trouble remembering recent events, conversations or day of the week
- Withdrawal from social situations and general apathy
- Difficulty with cooking, shopping, managing finances and making decisions
- Tendency to lose things
- May become disoriented in familiar surroundings
- Anger, suspiciousness, overreacting, fear of baths and paranoia
- Repeating questions or statements
- Restlessness or agitation in the evenings; wandering
- Eating problems and incontinence
- Inappropriate behaviors (i.e. violence, hoarding, sexual)
- Inability to communicate, recognize people, places and objects
- Cannot participate in any personal care activities
- Loses ability to walk, smile or swallow
- Muscles may become contracted; seizures
- Majority of time spent sleeping
If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms associated with AD, reach out to your health care provider. To learn more about AD, visit the Inland Northwest Alzheimer’s Association.
Credit: Frontier Behavioral Health. Used with permission.