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November 08, 2012
Signs of the early stages of Alzheimer's disease aren't always clear-cut, after all, it can be hard to distinguish them from age related memory changes. Below are several Alzheimer's warning signs to watch for, along with information about discussing these signs with your physician, and what to do once receiving a diagnosis.

Some of the most common and obvious signs of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia are:

• Memory loss- Although older memories might seem unaffected, people with dementia might forget recent experiences or important dates or events that interferes with daily life. Anyone can forget some details from a recent event or conversation or recall them later. People with dementia might forget the entire thing.

• Repetition- People with dementia may repeat stories, sometimes word for word. They may keep asking the same questions, no matter how many times they're answered.

• Language problems- We all struggle to remember a word occasionally. People with dementia can have profound problems remembering even basic words. Their way of speaking may become contorted and hard to follow.

• Personality changes- People with dementia may have sudden mood swings. They might become emotional, upset, or angry for no particular reason. They might become withdrawn or stop doing things they usually enjoy. They could become uncharacteristically suspicious of family members, or trusting of telemarketers.

• Disorientation and confusion- People with dementia may get lost in places they know very well, like their own neighborhoods. They may have trouble completing basic and familiar tasks, like cooking dinner or shaving.

• Lack of hygiene- Sometimes this is the most obvious sign of Alzheimer's disease. People who have dressed smartly every day of their lives might start wearing stained clothing or stop bathing.

• Odd behavior- We all misplace our keys from time to time. People with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are prone to placing objects in odd and wholly inappropriate places. They might put a toothbrush in the fridge or milk in the cabinet under the sink.

If your loved one is exhibiting any of these Alzheimer's warning signs, don't panic. Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean that your loved one has Alzheimer's disease, but it may be time to speak with your primary care physician, or even a psychologist or neurologist for evaluation. The doctor's will run a series of tests and help guide you through the next steps if Alzheimer's is diagnosed. Medications may be prescribed, and it may be time to research care options such as private duty care in your home, assisted living facilities, or even specialized memory care communities.

It is important to remember you are not alone, nor are you the first to go through the multitude of emotions driven by Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Be sure to reach out to physician's, friends, family members, and look in to an Alzheimer's support group. Gardens of Roswell offers a free support group on the second Thursday of each month at 6:00pm, free of charge. The meetings are confidential, informative, and can be very beneficial to loved one's of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Please feel free to contact Zee Jennings at Gardens of Roswell Assisted Living and Memory Care if you have any questions. 770-992-0505

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