Visit Don's site and read his blogs he also is on the journey with AD and has alot of good postings.
Great words of advice out Mayo Clinic.
I'm going to paraphrase from an article I read today out of the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Eric Tangalos, an Alzheimer's specialist was interviewed.
When I tell people I have Alzheimer's but still drive and write and function normally, they tell me they didn't think AD could be diagnosed until autopsy. Dr. Tangalos affirms my belief that diagnosis can and should be made in early stages with examinations and other test. Despite the time and effort, there is no better investment in order to make an early diagnosis. Brief test in your primary care doctors can screen for the need for more thorough testing.
Early signs to lead you to the doctor to start with can be summed up simply: Change in behavior! Apply that to the following list:
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems with language
- Disorientation to time and place
- Poor or decreased judgment
- Problems with abstract thinking
- Misplacing things
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Changes in personality
- Loss of initiative
There are three stages in AD; cognitive decline, functional decline and behavioral decline. Most people are diagnosed in the second stage because they do not want to anticipate being told they have AD. Worst yet, doctors avoid the word as well. But that is going to change.
Early diagnosis allows the drugs now available to be most effective and gives time for the patient to prepare, socially and economically for what is to come. Dr. Tangalos points out the value of improving the home environment, perhaps downsizing to make the space more manageable or installing inexpensive devices like motion detector lights and big-button phones. Maintaining a routine is essential. If you are going to move or make a major change in your environment, do it in the early stage when the patient can adjust or in the late stage their function is already extremely impaired.
Dr. Tangalos ended the interview with this: "(People are coming in for diagnosis) much too late. That's easy to understand because Alzheimer's is such a devastating disease. But we'd like patients and families to run toward the diagnosis, rather than away from it."
From one who is living that reality, I say Amen!