Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly causes a person to have diminished memory, limited thinking skills, and a reduced ability to carry out daily activities. People with Alzheimer’s disease may also experience changes in behavior and personality. The National Institute on Aging estimates more than five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, most of them age 65 and older. Many more Americans experience Alzheimer's as caregivers for friends and family members with the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Memory problems are one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s, but early diagnosis can give people a chance to seek treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with one or more of these 10 warning signs contact a doctor to determine the cause of their memory issues:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations
- New problems in speaking or writing words
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
Your healthcare providers can help determine if symptoms are related to Alzheimer’s disease or another condition such as a vitamin deficiency, sleep disturbances, or side effects from medication. Early and accurate diagnosis may help preserve daily functioning for some time, although Alzheimer’s cannot be stopped or reversed. Early diagnosis can also help families plan for the future by taking care of legal and financial matters, determining living arrangements, addressing potential safety issues, and developing support networks.
Your Employee Assistance Program Can Help
If you or a loved one are suffering with memory-related health issues, your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can provide you with free and confidential support. EAP services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, contact your Component EAP, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.