The Next Step

Surveys consistently show that Alzheimer’s is the second most feared disease in America, after cancer. Among those 55 and older, Alzheimer’s sometimes comes out on top. This fear can become an issue if you think a loved one might be showing the signs of Alzheimer’s. Do not jump to conclusions. Observe your loved one more closely. Look for changes in habits, mood, or abilities. Avoid relying solely on your own opinion. Consult close friends and family members and if they have noticed these same changes, the next step is talking to your loved one. Talking to a loved one about Alzheimer’s can be difficult. Their fear might result in anger or denial. Broach the subject carefully and be optimistic. Say something like, “I don’t think there is a problem but I would like to check to make sure.” Your love one might admit to having noticed a problem. If they are willing, schedule a doctor’s appointment.
There is no specific test for Alzheimer’s but doctors using known information can usually diagnose with 90 percent accuracy. If you need a second opinion, these doctors can be helpful:
• Geriatricians manage health care in older adults. They know how the body changes as it ages and whether symptoms indicate a serious problem.
• Geriatric psychiatrists specialize in the mental and emotional problems of older adults and can assess memory and thinking problems.
• Neurologists specialize in abnormalities of the brain and central nervous system and can conduct and review brain scans.
• Neuropsychologists can conduct tests of memory and thinking.
While Alzheimer’s has no cure, diagnosing it early is helpful in getting the right type of care and treatment.

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Filed under Alzheimer's, Health care services, Home Care, Personal care

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