Certain problems can be warning signs of
dementia. Talk to a doctor if you, a friend, or a
family member has been having increased difficulty with
any of the following activities:
Learning and retaining new information
(forgetting recent events and appointments or frequently misplacing
Handling complex tasks, like balancing a
Knowing what to do when problems come up (such as knowing
what to do if the bathroom is flooded) and using good judgment (for example,
showing a new disregard for the rules of social conduct and doing or saying
things that are inappropriate)
Finding his or her way around
familiar places, driving to and from places he or she knows well (for example,
getting lost when walking or driving from the house to the store a few blocks
Finding the right words to say what he or she wants to
Understanding and responding to what he or she sees and
Acting more irritable or suspicious than usual, or
withdrawing from conversation and activity
A person who has one or more of these warning signs may need to be
evaluated by a doctor.
I didn't know anything about Alzheimer's before my mother and
my stepfather developed it at roughly the same time in the spring of 2005. I
was living outside of Portland, Oregon; they were living in Mission, Texas.
They were 86 and 84, respectively. I had tried to talk them into moving to an
assisted-living community in Portland previously, but they always said they
were doing fine. So I was surprised when my mother called one morning out of
the blue and said, "We need help."
My husband and...