By Beau Simmons CNHI News Oklahoma
Nov 23, 2019
The cascading effect of dementia makes it hard to accept the reality and finality of a devastating disease like Alzheimer’s.
It affects not only the inflicted, but the caregivers, friends and family. Carla Scull of the Oklahoma branch of the Alzheimer’s Association not only hopes to erase some of the stigma with dementia, but also allay some of the fears associated with it.
Speaking during a Stillwater Medical Center Community Dementia Outreach event on Friday, Scull talked about the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s, explained some of the differences between normal memory loss related to aging and revealed some of the resources that can be found for those dealing with dementia.
“It’s imperative that we all start talking about it, that we take the stigma away from it because that is how we find a cure,” Scull said.
One of her main takeaways was the difference in functionality after memory loss. An example like, “I forget things all the time, but then I might remember what it is that I forgot later … wake up at 3 a.m. and go, ‘Oh!’” That’s normal, Scull said, not normal is never remembering what that might have been.
The intention was not to scare people into thinking they have dementia, but to be on the lookout for: 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. That was the first of the warning signs.
Others were: 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems; 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks; 4. Confusion with time or place; 5. Trouble understanding casual images and spatial relationships; 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing; 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps; 8. decreased or poor judgment; 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities and 10. Changes in mood or personality.
The key is to keep a close eye on loved ones, because people may know when they are experiencing the first stages of dementia, but they won’t always know when they have lost the ability to care for themselves.
Scull’s example was how dad, “May have made that short drive to the store 1,000 times, but it’s that 1,001st time when they get lost and confused and end up driving to Kansas. That’s when we see those Silver Alerts.”
More information can be found online at alz.org.