Dementia does not refer to a specific disease. Rather, dementia generally refers to a wide array of neurocognitive conditions that show a strong decline in mental capacity and function. Neurodegeneration will usually progress until normal daily activities and functions become challenging. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. The most common symptoms relate to memory and thinking. Neural tissues die in an irreversible manner, eventually spreading into key parts of the brain that control memory and other important mental functions. In addition to neural death, malformed protein structures in the brain lead to a decline in cognitive function. Alzheimer’s is a very emotional and tolling disease that typically affects family members and friends. Here at Pathways we want to help you and your loved ones preserve the greatest quality of life possible. We recognize that early intervention is very advantageous. First, early intervention widens the repertoire of possible medical treatments and clinical trials. Second, the earlier one seeks intervention, the faster Pathways can help one navigate the many financial, emotional, and social considerations moving forward in a well thought out plan for the future.

How Do You Know If You Have Alzheimer’s?

Early-Stage

  • Problems coming up with the right word or name
  • Trouble remembering names when introduced to new people
  • Having greater difficulty performing tasks in social or work settings
  • Forgetting material that one has just read
  • Losing or misplacing a valuable object
  • Increasing trouble with planning or organizing

Middle-Stage

  • Forgetfulness of events or about one’s own personal history
  • Feeling moody or withdrawn, especially in socially or mentally challenging situations
  • Being unable to recall their own address or telephone number or the high school or college from which they graduated
  • Confusion about where they are or what day it is
  • The need for help choosing proper clothing for the season or the occasion
  • Trouble controlling bladder and bowels in some individuals
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping during the day and becoming restless at night
  • An increased risk of wandering and becoming lost
  • Personality and behavioral changes, including suspiciousness and delusions or compulsive, repetitive behavior like hand-wringing or tissue shredding

Late-Stage

  • Require full-time, around-the-clock assistance with daily personal care
  • Lose awareness of recent experiences as well as of their surroundings
  • Require high levels of assistance with daily activities and personal care
  • Experience changes in physical abilities, including the ability to walk, sit and, eventually, swallow
  • Have increasing difficulty communicating
  • Become vulnerable to infections, especially pneumonia

– From Alz.org