The Road to Alzheimer’s: 6 Warning Signs (And What to Do)

Alzheimer’s can be a scary word—in fact; it’s one of the most frightening diagnosis you can get for a loved one. However, it’s a little less scary when you’re informed and prepared. Best of all, when you catch it early, there are many treatments that can reduce symptoms and improve the overall quality of life. The key is that the disease needs to be caught as early as possible. To do this, it is important to monitor your older relatives (and even yourself) vigilantly, to make sure you observe any potential changes and catch the disease as quickly as possible. Here are six potential warning signs you should look for—and contact a doctor if you notice.

  • Memory loss (disrupting daily life) – Everyone forgets things from time to time; there is nothing abnormal there. However, memory loss that disrupts everyday life is something that is concerning. Does your mom or dad forget who you are or fail to remember things that you know that he or she should have no problem recalling? It may be that these are just signs of mental decline, or it could be that these are early signs of Alzheimer’s. It is worth having the memory loss looked into by the family doctor.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks – An everyday task, such as doing dishes, walking the dog or completing a much-loved hobby should be second nature to an older adult. If your parent struggles with a task that used to be simple, it could be a sign that something isn’t quite right.
  • Confusion about place or time – Another worrisome sign is confusion about the current place or time. This confusion can be very scary for you, as well as your loved one. After all, not knowing where you are, or what year it is leads to a person feeling very out of place and can lead to further poor decisions.
  • Poor judgment (out of character) – One of the first signs of Alzheimer’s that many people see in their parents is poor decision-making skills. When an older adult is suddenly giving money to an untrustworthy person or making unwise purchases, it might be time to step in and protect this individual from his or herself. Poor judgment can lead to dangerous situations in the future.
  • Withdrawal from work or social life – When a person has trouble recalling facts or moving as fast as he or she once did, it is only natural that the individual might withdraw from activities that they once loved. This withdrawal can make it harder to notice the actual changes since your mom or dad won’t be engaging in as many challenging activities. If you see mom or dad begin to spend more time alone or not doing the things they once loved, it is worth investigating to find out why.
  • Severe changes in mood or personality – Although it doesn’t always occur this way, some people who are facing memory loss or other changes will respond with anger or depression. If you have noticed changes in the mood or personality of an older loved one, it could be that they are trying to cover up more serious problems. Talking with a doctor, or a psychologist, to find out the root of the problem, is often the best solution.

If you are worried about a loved one, you don’t have to face Alzheimer’s alone. Your doctor is always a great resource. However, sometimes you need a higher level of care—even full-time care. If you are considering assisted living or memory care for your mom or dad, why not reach out to us at CareChoice? We would love to discuss the different options with you and show you that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis doesn’t have to be quite as scary as you might think. Call us at (404) 402-1499 or visit our website at ourcarechoice.com to discover more. We look forward to learning more about you and your family.

Five Quick Ways to Combat Caregiver Burnout  

Serving as a caregiver for your mom, dad, grandparents or other loved one can be both highly rewarding and immensely challenging. In many ways, it can be like a full-time job—without benefits! However, there is no better feeling than knowing you can pitch in and care for someone who gave their all to help you too. While it can be easy to get stressed from the caregiving process, if you take a few precautions, this will be much less likely. We’ve put together a brief guide of five ideas that may help you avoid “caregiver burnout.”

Take Time for Yourself

While taking care of mom or dad is crucial, you are important too. You need to find some time for yourself, away from the stress of caring for others. Don’t allow the care routines to keep you from doing the things you love. If you have a hobby, make sure you pursue it. If you prefer to relax with a massage or a cup of hot tea, make time for that. Visit with friends and other loved ones too. Taking time for yourself allows you to be the best caregiver you can be.

Don’t Do It All Alone

While some days it may feel like you take the burden of the work, in reality, you shouldn’t have to do it all alone. If you are the only child or your siblings don’t live close by, it can feel like you do take on all of the responsibility. However, think a bit outside the box and you might find that there are others that can help. Are there any teenagers in the family that could help with yard work, cooking, and cleaning? Could your spouse stop by for medicine time on his or her way to work? What about neighbors or friends who offer to run errands or take your mom or dad to the store? These little efforts can add up to help reduce your workload in a tremendous way.

Hire Outside Help

You may think that hiring outside services for housekeeping, yard work or even nursing is an expense you simply can’t afford. While there will be a cost involved, this is a cost that is sometimes well worth paying. While it may be a cliché, it is a cliché for a reason: time is money. Hiring someone to take on some of the more strenuous tasks will free up your days to work on other things. If this free time allows you to pursue other important matters, the cost could be worthwhile.

Utilize Free Services

In addition to paid services, have you looked into the possibility of free services? Depending on your mom or dad’s income levels and medical needs, there may be programs available that will help. These programs can include meal services, nursing or perhaps rides to and from the doctor. Each person and community may have different programs and qualifications. Check with the insurance company and your mom or dad’s doctor to find out if there are any recommendations. Additionally, look online for any community-based programs.

Consider Assisted Living in Atlanta

While you may not want to think about the possibility, there may come a time that the best option for your parent, as well as you, is to consider assisted living in Atlanta. If you have not toured one of these facilities lately, you may be amazed at how impressive they can be. Many of these communities include private apartments, full-service dining rooms, and exciting activities, as well as assistance with the day-to-day care that your mom or dad may need. Plus, unlike a nursing home or other facility, an assisted living community allows seniors to maintain a sense of independence.

Remember, if you wind up overdoing it and “burning out,” you will not be able to help your mom, dad or anyone else. That is why it is so important to take things step by step and not allow yourself to get to the burnout stage. You are NOT alone. If you have questions about senior care or would like some advice about other options, reach out to us at CareChoice. We are a trusted team of senior care advisors who can help you and your family—no matter what type of senior care arrangements you need. You can reach us by phone at (404) 402-1499 or check out our website at www.ourcarechoice.com. We look forward to helping you and your family.