Memory challenges – age or Alzheimer’s
by Laura Conant, Calumet Park Correspondent
Have you been forgetting things a lot lately? Can’t find your keys or glasses? Is the worry of Alzheimer’s nagging at the back of your mind? More than 5 million people in the US are living with Alzheimer’s so it’s in the news a lot.
Let’s put your worries to rest by finding out what are symptoms of normal aging vs. symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Memory problems such as forgetting recent conversations, misplacing items, difficulty in solving problems, can be normal as we age. It may take us longer to do complex tasks but we can do them without a lot of confusion. Signs of Alzheimer’s would be misplacing something and be unable to know how to retrace your steps to find it. Balancing your checkbook may become difficult as numbers no longer make sense. You may start getting lost on familiar routes while either walking or driving. Familiar areas now feel foreign.
Language problems can include not remembering the names of familiar objects like the TV or phone, or suddenly stopping in the middle of a conversation because you can’t remember what you were talking about. It’s not just losing your train of thought-it’s that you don’t remember starting the conversation at all. You may start having trouble reading by not recognizing or understanding the words.
Depression and becoming very easily agitated is another sign. Losing interest in things you previously enjoyed and being in a flat mood, personality changes and the loss of social skills are other symptoms of Alzheimer’s. You, yourself, may not be able to perceive these changes but may experience family members or friends telling you about them.
If you or a loved one are having any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a physician to start treatment to slow the progression of the disease.
Please try to understand what I am now; not think of me as I was. I am alone, shut in, with my fears, my frustrations, my forgetfulness. Forgive me if I strike out at you. Why do I do that? What has happened to me? I cannot cope in this alien world. I feel threatened. I am frightened. Speak softly, approach slowly. Repeat again and again what you want of me. Those twisted tangles in my brain have messed up my world. Be patient, for I do love you. And I need your help and love so very, very much. Your Alzheimer Patient. by Joy Glennner.