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    Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

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    Glossary of Alzheimer's Disease Terms

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    Caregiver: The main person in charge of caring for someone with a serious illness, such as Alzheimer's disease. It’s often a spouse or adult child.

    Clinical social worker: A professional who can counsel people or groups and help you find community resources, such as adult day care, home care, or nursing home services.

    Clinical trial: Research studies that test new medicines to see if they are safe and if they work. They often are a way for people to try new medicine before it is available to everyone. Your doctor can tell you if one of these trials might be a good fit for your loved one.

    Cognitive abilities: Mental skills such as judgment, memory, learning, comprehension, and reasoning.

    Cognitive symptoms: In Alzheimer's disease, these include problems with learning, understanding, memory, reasoning, and judgment.

    Competence: A person's ability to make informed choices.

    Computed (axial) tomography (CAT or CT) scan: A powerful X-ray that makes detailed pictures inside your body.

    Deficits: Things that are lacking. With Alzheimer’s, this means physical and mental skills that a person has lost, has trouble with, or can no longer do.

    Delusion: A false idea that someone firmly believes and won’t give up even when someone shows them proof that it’s not true.

    Dementia: Symptoms that happen because of brain diseases. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia.

    Depression: Low mood that prevents a person from leading a normal life. It’s more than feeling down or sad. It lasts longer and can affect sleep and appetite. When you’re depressed, you don’t get as much pleasure from things you used to enjoy.

    Disorientation: Losing your sense of time, direction, and recognition. With Alzheimer’s, this can happen even in very familiar settings or with people you’ve known for a long time, including family members.

    Durable power of attorney: A legal document in which you can authorize another person, usually a trusted family member or friend, to make legal decisions when you are no longer able to do so yourself.

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