I have an friend who is two year older than me, who is suffering from this disease, and I am sad that he is starting to lose his sense of who he is and his memory. My buddies and I took him for supper in December, one of my friends went to pick him up and when he came into the pub, he saw me and said to me, "You look vaguely familiar, I must know you but I don't remember your name." I shook his hand and told him my name and he said "Now I remember, we used to work together." We talked about old times and had a very pleasant evening although at times I could see he was having trouble following the conversation and at times looked like he did not know where he was or why he was there.
The Alzeimers Society of Canada has some good information and if you know someone who is or think you know someone who is suffering you should take a look at their website. I had not thought very much about the disease as I did not know anyone who was suffering from it--out of sight out of mind. Howwever here is some information about this disease.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, which causes thinking and memory to become seriously impaired. It is the most common form of dementia. (Dementia is a syndrome consisting of a number of symptoms that include loss of memory, judgment and reasoning, and changes in mood, behaviour. My friend is getting worse and his son is now at home to look after him, he has trouble remembering people but for the most part he still has his sense of humour and love of lilfe. Many who suffer this disease do not.
The Alzheimer Society has developed the following list: of warning signs, so use the link at the bottom to get more informationi if you know someone who may have a number of the following signe.
Memory loss that affects day-to-day function
It's normal to occasionally forget appointments, colleagues' names or a friend's phone number and remember them later. A person with Alzheimer's disease may forget things more often and not remember them later, especially things that have happened more recently.
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them at the end of a meal. A person with Alzheimer's disease may have trouble with tasks that have been familiar to them all their lives, such as preparing a meal.
- Problems with language
Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer's disease may forget simple words or substitute words, making her sentences difficult to understand.
- Disorientation of time and place
It's normal to forget the day of the week or your destination -- for a moment. But a person with Alzheimer's disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing how they got there or how to get home.
- Poor or decreased judgment
People may sometimes put off going to a doctor if they have an infection, but eventually seek medical attention. A person with Alzheimer's disease may have decreased judgment, for example not recognizing a medical problem that needs attention or wearing heavy clothing on a hot day.
- Problems with abstract thinking
From time to time, people may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, such as balancing a cheque book. Someone with Alzheimer's disease may have significant difficulties with such tasks, for example not recognizing what the numbers in the cheque book mean.
- Misplacing things
Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
- Changes in mood and behaviour
Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer's disease can exhibit varied mood swings -- from calm to tears to anger -- for no apparent reason.
- Changes in personality
People's personalities can change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer's disease can become confused, suspicious or withdrawn. Changes may also include apathy, fearfulness or acting out of character.
- Loss of initiative
It's normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. A person with Alzheimer's disease may become very passive, and require cues and prompting to become involved.
For information on diagnosis, see Getting a Diagnosis: Finding Out If It Is Alzheimer Disease.
There are also tests that can predict the early onset of the disease according to this aticle (Tests can predict risk f dementia long before onset)@ http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/20110107/dementia-tests-study-110107/