Whilst there is no individual cause of Alzheimer’s disease, age is the greatest factor. Approximately one in 14 people aged over 65 are affected, with around one in six aged over 80 suffering from the disease.
With more of us living longer, the prevalence of the disease will increase proportionately. However, many people under 65 also suffer from Alzheimer’s; there are around 40,000 people affected by dementia who are under 65 in the UK. As the most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s can be an extremely confusing and frustrating condition. It is common for people who have Alzheimer’s to believe that there isn’t anything wrong with them and will then get cross when friends or relatives try to help in any way.
Those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s will struggle with their ability to remember things and processing new information will also become increasingly difficult. These are typical patterns of behaviour for someone who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Family and friends should remain sensitive to the fact that the above facets of the disease can cause great frustration and confusion for the sufferer and can, in some instances, lead to depression.
Alzheimer’s is often described as a condition that changes the personality; so changes in temperament, sense of humour and how they react and communicate with others are probable.
Do I have Alzheimers disease?-
There are numerous signs that a person with Alzheimer’s might display. Here is a list of the most common symptoms:
- Memory loss that disrupts everyday life. For example, being unable to recollect close family names, important dates, where you left items, etc
- Poor problem solving; for example, being unable to calculate bills correctly
- Struggling to complete common tasks such as working a computer or mobile phone
- Feeling impatient or frustrated with other people and with yourself
- Misplacing items; for example, forgetting where you put an object and struggling to retrace where you left it
- Changes to vision; having a pronounced difficulty when reading
- Struggling to communicate; that is, forgetting how to hold a conversation and regularly forgetting words
- Refraining from social activities that you used to enjoy as you may have forgotten the rules to a game or sport, for example
What are the emotional symptoms of Alzheimers?
- Social isolation
- Lack or increase of sleep
- Mood swings
First steps to getting support and help if you think you may have Alzheimer’s
Know that there are people who can help you. This is the first step towards leading a better, fulfilled life. For example, get in touch with your GP, research the condition and be aware that there will be changes to how you behave, communicate and recall things. Seek the support of family and friends – they know you best and can help you.
Know that you are not alone; there are around 850,000 people with Alzheimer’s in the UK. Use online forums, meeting groups and support networks to speak to others who are living with the condition.
For further information on the full range of Priory services, please call: 0845 277 4679. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here.