It’s World Alzheimer’s Day
In 2019, research showed that there were more than 850,000 people in the UK with dementia, representing a staggering one in every fourteen people aged over 65. Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia and the most common form. Knowledge is power, and this year World Alzheimer’s Day is about the power of knowledge and how to recognise the signs of Alzheimer’s in someone close to you.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, it’s common for symptoms to be put down to ageing and its effect on the memory. However, a person with Alzheimer’s may also misplace items, have trouble remembering the names of places and objects, have difficulty thinking of the right word and ask questions repetitively. Other early signs are showing poor judgement, struggling to make decisions, being noticeably less flexible with plans, and having increased anxiety, agitation or confusion.
Middle stage Alzheimer’s symptoms are more noticeable. A person with middle stage Alzheimer’s may find it increasingly difficult to remember the names of family and friends, and be at risk of getting lost and wandering off, with difficult understanding what time of day it is. Impulsive and obsessive behaviours may begin to show as well as delusions and issues with speech. They may find it hard to sleep and mood swings may be more pronounced. Spatial awareness may be affected, making it difficult for them to judge distances between objects, or between themselves and an object; this makes falls more likely. Hallucinations are also possible, and they will probably need help with day-to-day living, such as washing, cooking and getting dressed.
In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, symptoms are more acute and can become upsetting, both for the person with dementia and those close to them. Full-time care will be required at this stage.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s progress over years and changes can initially be small. But, if you are worried about yours or a loved one’s health, please seek medical advice. For more information, please see the Alzheimer’s Society website.