While there are certain medically related causes for memory loss, such as thyroid, kidney, brain or liver disorders, other symptoms might point to AD, or Alzheimer's disease. Memory loss itself may be inconsistent; a person may remember the name of a pet one day and forget it the next. In addition to memory issues, there are several other behaviors that may signal the onset of AD.
Decision-making and problem-solving issues
Someone who has always shown good judgment may begin making decisions that seem irresponsible or foolish. You may find that your loved one is having difficulty completing familiar tasks. You may also notice that concentration or problem-solving issues have begun to develop and that basic daily activities have become more of a chore than the effort required would indicate.
Confusion and wandering
The onset of AD may show itself in terms of confusion about time or place. For example, your loved one may forget where home is, lose track of dates or even seasons. He or she may become disoriented easily. Every so often you may hear a news report about an elderly person who wandered away from home. It happens more often than you think. Disorientation can also result in agitation, pacing and mood swings, which can also be signs of AD.
As Alzheimer's progresses, you may see a decline of communication and language skills. Your loved one may stop talking in mid-sentence and appear to not know how to continue the conversation. This can be quite unsettling and add to the confusion this person may already be experiencing.
Consider adult day care
If you have become the caregiver for your loved one, you know how much time and attention is involved, especially as Alzheimer's progresses. You might consider adult daycare, an option that provides a number of benefits. Your loved one will be in good hands during the day, giving you a break and time to manage your other responsibilities. Services normally include meals, social activities like movies or crafts, physical and speech therapy if needed and support for personal care, such as bathing, dressing and grooming. Local senior centers and churches are often good sources for locating adult day care facilities.
If you find that you can no longer keep up with the demands of being a caregiver, there are nursing homes and assisted care facilities where help for those with AD is a specialty. You might also speak with an attorney experienced with elder care issues when you need sound advice about managing the affairs of a loved one dealing with Alzheimer's disease.