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Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

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Glossary of Alzheimer's Disease Terms


Durable power of attorney for health care: A legal document in which you choose another person to make all decisions regarding health care, including choices regarding doctors and medical treatment, at the end of your life.

Dysphasia: Not being able to find the right word or understand the meaning of a word.

Early-onset Alzheimer's disease: Alzheimer’s disease that starts before age 60. It’s not common. Less than 5% of people with Alzheimer’s have it.

Early stage: The beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease, in which symptoms range from mild to moderate.

Elder law attorney: A lawyer who handles legal issues that affect older adults.

Echocardiogram: An ultrasound of your beating heart, It creates images with sound waves.

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): It measures electrical signals from your heart and tells how fast your heat is beating and if it has a healthy rhythm.

Electroencephalogram ( EEG ):  It measures brain activity. The doctor or technician will place metal discs called electrodes on your scalp for this short test.

Familial Alzheimer's disease: Alzheimer's disease that runs in families.

Gait: How a person walks. People in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease often have a "reduced gait," which means it has become harder for them to lift their feet as they walk.

Genetic counseling: A process in which a trained genetic counselor helps you understand whether your genes make you more likely to get a certain condition.

Genetic testing: Tests to check on gene problems that make you more likely to get a disease. It may be as simple as a blood test. But you will need genetic counseling (see definition above) to understand the results.

Geriatrician: A doctor who specializes in the medical care and treatment of older adults.

Guardian: A person appointed by the courts who is authorized to make legal and financial decisions for someone else who cannot do it themselves.

Hallucination: Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling something that is not there.

Hoarding: Collecting and putting things away in order to guard them.

Hospice: Comfort and care as you get close to the end of your life. Pain management is a big part of it. It can also include emotional and spiritual support, if desired. Hospice is not necessarily about being in a certain facility. It’s a type of medical care that can happen anywhere.

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