Alzheimer’s 10 Warning Signs

This year’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Month’s theme centres around the 10 warning signs of Dementia and the importance of an early diagnosis. The World Alzheimer Report 2021 has highlighted that 75% of people with dementia globally are undiagnosed, equating to 41 million people.

In Ireland 64,000 people are currently living with Dementia. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland reported that figure is expected to double to over 150,000 in 25 years, 2045. With 30 people diagnosed each day with dementia, 11,000 new cases a year, it is important to highlight the key warning signs and symptoms to allow for an early diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of Dementia, linked to over half of reported cases. It’s a result of a build-up of protein in the brain (amyloid) that forms plagues surrounding the brain cells, impairing the functionality of the brain.  

Dementia Umbrella Description

An early diagnosis allows you and your circles of care to plan for the future, maximise your quality of life, access resources, support and information and develop a treatment plan. At present there is unfortunately no cure for Alzheimer’s and dementia however an early diagnosis can slow and, in some cases, stop the progression of the disease, allowing for an extended quality of life.

While there is no one size fits all when looking at the symptoms of a person presenting with dementia as they can be unique to that individual and the type of dementia, the following are the 10 most common warning signs.

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems with language
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Poor or decreased judgement
  • Problems keeping track of things
  • Misplacing things
  • Changes in mood and behaviour
  • Trouble with images and spatial relationships
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
Alzheimer's and Dementia warning signs

1. Memory Loss

Lapses in our memory can be common, especially as we age. Memory loss becomes a cause for concern when a person is unable to remember people, conversations or things that may have happened recently.

A persistent decline in short-term memory can result in the inability to organise thoughts and language issues such as difficulty in finding the right word. Identifying family members, places and objects may also become more challenging.

2. Problems with Language

This decline can also lead to repetition of a story or questions numerous times without realising it. Many people with Alzheimer’s and dementia suffer from Aphasia, the inability to comprehend and formulate language, making conversations difficult to conduct or follow.

Short-term memory loss is the first symptom people associate with dementia however it is not always the first warning sing.

3. Difficulty in performing familiar tasks

Difficulty in performing familiar tasks is an indication a person may be suffering with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This can range from tasks which require planning and multiple steps such as cooking to basic tasks like bathing or dressing incorrectly, i.e., clothing on backwards or in the wrong order.

4. Disorientation with time and place

Disorientation with time and place are linked to a decline in memory. Keeping track of what date/month/season are key warning signs. Sometimes the person may forget where they are or how they got to a certain place, even if it is a familiar place to them.

5. Poor or decreased judgement

Major changes in judgement or decision making such as uncharacteristic behaviour in social situations, managing money poorly or trouble looking after themselves are subtle but important symptoms to note.

6. Problems keeping track of things

Keeping track of monthly bills, working with numbers, spending money frivolously and being uncharacteristically generous be early indicators of Alzheimer’s and dementia as these tasks require a lot of abstract thinking.

7. Misplacing things

Misplacing things is another common trait that many of us may have in our day-to-day life. A person presenting with Alzheimer’s and dementia however may misplace items in strange or unusual places and be unable to retrace their steps because of disorientation.  

8. Changes in mood and behaviour

Irritability and rapid mood swings are key changes in behaviour linked with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The person suffering can become confused as a result of other symptoms, causing them to become emotional, lash out and even depressed. It is important to remember that a person suffering still has emotions but a reduced capacity to communicate. They may be in pain or discomfort and unable to accurately express this.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

These behavioural changes may lead to a withdrawal from the usual social interaction or even work as they begin to experience some lapses in memory. Many behaviour changes will result in a more sedentary life, sitting in front of the TV for hours or sleeping more often.

10. Trouble with images and spatial relationships

Whilst many people will notice a change in vision as they age, people with dementia can develop issues with determining colour, seeing objects in three dimensions or problems judging distance. Spatial awareness can decrease leading to a lack or balance, spilling food or drinks more often and tripping over more.

If you are someone you are worried about is presenting any symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is important to consult your GP for further advice and referral.

Alzheimer's Symptoms and warning signs

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Myhomecare at the National Dementia Care Conference 2018

dementia conference

National Dementia Care Conference 2018 – Assisted Decision Making Act Impact – Advanced Care Planning – Dealing With Dementia in the Home

The Myhomecare team were delighted to attend the National Dementia Care Conference on Thursday February 8th 2018 in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. In it’s 4th year, the conference this year focused on the future of Dementia Care in Ireland to enable delegates to critically review their approach to the care of patients with dementia and delirium.

Representing the Myhomecare team on the day was Jodi Scorr – Client Relationship Manager. This was Jodi’s first time to attend the conference and Jodi wanted to build business relationships with key note speakers. In preparation for the event, Jodi researched key people to network with and target on Linkedin and looked up the history of company websites. Speaking about the conference Jodi said: “I arrived at 11 o’clock having committed my early morning with an existing client visit. I heard key speakers Louise Campbell, Sally O’Grady, Carol de Wilde, Norma Sheehan, Suzanne Cahill, Amanda Bohan, William Molloy, Breffni Guinness and John Starr. Overall, it was extremely insightful. I really enjoyed learning more about and trying to understand Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It was a great event for networking and building new business opportunities”.

Who attended?

Professionals who assess/care for dementia patients, nurses, directors of nursing, social care workers, home care providers, carers, nursing homes, consultants, GP’s, regulators, associations, researchers and universities and more.

Some topics covered

  • Dementia in Ireland today – what has changed since 2014 and the national strategy.
  • Existing gaps in the journey of care.
  • Focus on home care needs.
  • Focus on post-diagnostic supports needs.
  • Focus on geographic inconsistency of services.
  • Dementia in Ireland – next steps required.

There was an important and interesting array of keynote speakers such including:

  • Pat McLoughlin, CEO, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland. 
  • Patricia Rickard Clarke, Solicitor & Former Commissioner, The Law Reform Commission. 
  • Deirdre Shanagher, Development Officer, The Irish Hospice Foundation. 
  • Dr. Louise Campbell, lecturer in medical ethics, NUI Galway.
  • Professor Suzanne Cahill, Trinity College Dublin. 
  • Carol de Wilde, Principal Social Worker St Columcille’s Hospital and Founding Member of the Alzheimer’s Café Bray.
  • Norma Sheehan, Director of Nursing, Saint Joseph’s Shankill. 
  • Amanda Bohan, Owner and Managing Director, Home Instead Senior Care. 
  • Breffni McGuinness, Training Manager, Irish Hospice Foundation. 
  • John Starr, Director, Alzheimer’s Scotland Dementia Research Centre, University of Edinburgh. 
  • Prof D W Molloy. 

What is dementia?

dementia quote

Dementia is not one specific disease. It is a term used to describe a wide range of symptoms. Dementia is a term which describes a number of conditions that cause damage to brain cells. It is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. It is estimated that there are 55,000 people with dementia in Ireland. Not every person with dementia will experience the same symptoms.

Different types of dementia

  • Alzheimer’s Disease – the most common form of dementia in which abnormal proteins cause brain cells to die. The most common early symptom is memory loss.
  • Vascular dementia – this is the second most common form of dementia. This occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted such as stroke and causes problems with thinking and planning.
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies – is a type of dementia that shares symptoms with both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It gets its name from the small spherical structures that develop inside nerve cells. Symptoms include hallucinations and problems with movement.
  • Fronto-Temperal Dementia – Causes damage to the front and sides of the brain first. This causes changes to personality, language and behaviour before memory.
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease – is caused by an abnormal protein called prion which infects the brain. Early symptoms include mood changes, loss of interest and minor lapses of memory.
  • Young-onset dementia – People who develop dementia before the age of 65. Younger people with dementia are more likely to have problems with movement, coordination, balance and and walking.
  • Alcohol related (including Korsakoffs syndrome) – Alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) is a brain disorder caused by regularly drinking too much alcohol over several years. The term ARBD covers several different conditions including Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and alcoholic dementia. None of these is actually a dementia, but they may share similar symptoms.

Symptoms

dementia signs

  • Memory loss.
  • Difficulty communicating or finding words.
  • Difficulty reasoning/problem-solving.
  • Difficulty handling complex tasks.
  • Difficulty with planning/organising.
  • Difficulty with coordination.
  • Confusion and disorientation.

Causes of Dementia

  • Stroke, brain tumor or head injury.
  • Age – dementia affects 1 in 70 people in Ireland aged 65-70 and affects 1 in 5 people over the age of 80.
  • Genetics.
  • Lifestyle Diet/Nutrition – high fat contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure and bad cholesterol which are all associated with dementia.

Prevention

dementia prevention

  • Healthy mind – keep the brain active by doing exercises such as puzzles and reading.
  • Quit smoking – People who are heavy smokers in their mid-life, double their risk of developing dementia.
  • Exercise – older adults who do not exercise are more likely to have memory problems.

 

dementia poem

 

Dementia Care Conference 2018: http://ichn.ie/national-dementia-care-conference-2018-assisted-decision-making-act-impact-advanced-care-planning-dealing-with-dementia-in-the-home/

For more information on Dementia visit: http://www.alzheimer.ie

A bit about Dementia. Myhomecare sponsoring The National Dementia Care Conference Wednesday 15th February.

Dementia Care Conference 15th February

Royal Marine Hotel Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. 

Sponsored by Myhomecare.ie 

THE CONFERENCE

The annual conference, which is now running three years, is taking place this Wednesday, February 15th in The Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire. Organised by The Commercial Media Group, the conference will focus on future vision for Dementia care in Ireland and will enable and equip delegates to critically review their approaches to the care of patients with dementia. Representing the myhomecareie.wpengine.com team and attending the conference are Homecare Assessors Jonathan O’Donnell and Susanne Kelly.

Susanne, who has experience nursing dementia patients in the past, said that this is her first time attending the conference and she is looking forward to it. Susanne hopes to improve dementia care and incorporate new guidelines into existing myhomecare plans. On the day, Johnathan and Susanne will be promoting myhomecare by providing information about the brand, distributing materials and products and building relationships with other similar services. They will be speaking to clients and answering the questions of potential clients.

Dementia in Ireland

It is estimated that 42,000 people in Ireland have dementia.

But, what is Dementia? Dementia is not one single disease. It is a collective term used to describe a group of symptoms which cause damage to the brain and impair memory or thinking such as forgetfulness.

 

What can cause Dementia? Dementia can occur after a stroke, brain tumor or head injury. Age is the most significant risk factor in developing dementia and it affects 1 in 70 people in Ireland aged 65-70 and affects a staggering 1 in 5 people over the age of 80. Genetics is another risk factor that can play a part in the role of developing dementia. Although we cannot control our age or our genes, we can control our lifestyle and evidence shows that our lifestyle habits can increase the risk of developing dementia.

How to prevent Dementia – Lifestyle habits – Diet/Nutrition – high fat contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure and bad cholesterol which are all associated with dementia. Smoking – damages the heart, lungs and vascular system. People who are heavy smokers in their mid-life, double their risk of developing dementia. Alcohol – due to its antioxidants, research shows that drinking a moderate amount of red wine might actually reduce the risk of forming dementia. However, drinking alcohol excessively can increase a person’s risk of developing a form of dementia called Korsakoff’s Syndrome. Exercising – lack of physical activity can cause heart problems and can increase the risk of developing vascular dementia.

 

Recognizing The Signs

Not everyone with dementia will experience the same signs and symptoms.

Recent memory loss – repeating themselves.

Difficulty completing familiar tasks – cooking a meal.

Difficulty in communicating – forgetting simple words.

Disorientation – getting lost.

Misplacing things.

Changes in mood.

Changes in personality – acting fearful.

Inability to control emotion.

Loss if initiative – no interest in going out.

 

Fore more information about the Dementia Care Conference visit: http://cmgevents.ie/events/the-national-dementia-care-conference/

For information on myhomecare and dementia plans visit www.myhomecareie.wpengine.com

The National Homecare and Assisted Living Conference 2015

Home care in Ireland Is a rapidly growing service within our communities, with many more opting for this type of service for their personal care as opposed to hospital or nursing home services commonly used in the past. Considering the rapid expansion and demand in this sector it comes with a range of changes, challenges and guidelines being developed annually to ensure optimum service to the end user. CMG Events in Association with myhomecareie.wpengine.com have gathered an expert line up of presenters to address some of the most topical issues in the home care sector including;

  • How to meet the requirements of our Ageing Population.
  • Are we HIQA prepared?
  • How Best to develop relationships between nursing homes & homecare provisions.
  • Dementia Supports available to Homecare providers to name just a few.

Opening remarks from Conference Chairperson

Speaker: Dr Mary Rose Day, Midwife & Public Health Nurse, UCC

The role of HIQA in monitoring and regulating health & social care services

Speaker: Vicky Blomfield, Head of Programme, Corporate Projects. HIQA

  • The legal framework
  • Regulating and monitoring
  • Standards and Regulations
  • Registration and enforcement
  • The inspection process
  • Key findings so far
  • Getting ready for inspections

Supporting the Continuum of Care – Meeting the Requirement of our Ageing Population

Speaker: Tadhg Daly, CEO, Nursing Homes Ireland

  • Ageing Demographic
  • Demand for residential care exceeding supply
  • Development of ‘continuum of care’
  • Role of nursing home sector in complimentary services(homecare / day care / meals on wheels)
  • Nursing homes a hub of community services?

Primary Care

  • Independent living – care communities
  • Cohesive national strategy
  • Implications of inaction

The Single Assessment Tool (SAT) – HSE national implementation of a standardised comprehensive care needs assessment for older people

Speakers: Dr Natalie Vereker, Services For Older People, HSE / Linda McDermott-Scales, National Education & Development Manager, Services for Older People, Social Care Division, HSE

  • The benefits and requirements for a Single Assessment Tool (SAT) in assessing older persons’ health and social care needs
  • The implementation by HSE of SAT to replace current variable care needs assessment practices with a standardised SAT for entry into
  • Nursing Home Support Scheme (A Fair Deal), Home Care Package Scheme (HCPs) and thereafter to Home-Help provision.
  • The SAT uses an internationally recognised assessment system known as the interRAI™ system. The interRAI™ explained
  • The national implementation of SAT to date

Advance Care Directives in the Community

Speaker: Kayla Rumack, Medical Student, University College Cork

  • Relevance & Benefits of Advance Care Directives in the Community
  • Knowledge, Opinions
  • Completion Rates and Factors Influencing Engagement – Ireland and International
  • Theory of Planned Behaviour – Can we influence Advance Directive Completion?
  • Research & Developments to expect in the future

Case Studies – Early Intervention and Integration of Community & Acute Care

Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Weathers, PhD, BSc, PGCTL, RGN, Research Support Officer, Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation, University College Cork @St. Finbarr’s Hospital

  • Community Assessment of Risk and Treatment Strategies (CARTS) Project – Link between frailty and risk of hospitalisation, institutionalisation, or death/predictors of frailty
  • Risk Instrument for Screening in the Community (RISC) and Community Assessment of Risk Instrument (CARI)
  • Importance of caregiver network and family support networks
  • Training of Public Health Nurses
  • Screening currently underway in Cork/Kerry HSE Region and implementation of Intensive Home Care Packages
  • Future developments and plans for wide scale implementation
  • Geriatric Database Project
  • Work to date on the development of a geriatric computerised database for people with cognitive impairment
  • Integration of community care and acute care

Dementia Supports available to Homecare providers

Speaker: Dr Dermot Power, UCD School of Medicine and Medical Sciences

  • Insights into the level of home care service for users with Dementia in Ireland
  • What supports are being developed
  • The use of technology to support older patients with dementia in their own homes

Top tips on how to care for common illnesses with our ageing population service users

Speaker: Dr John Doherty, Consultant Physician, Aged Related Health Care (ARHC) unit, Tallaght Hospital

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Senile patients
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Diabetes
  • Cardio problems
  • Malnutrition

Closing remarks from Dr Mary Rose Day

Not included in videos:

Community / Public Health Nursing & Developing relationships between nursing homes & homecare provision

Speaker: Anne Lynott, DPHN, Public Health Nursing Department, Dublin West, Cherry Orchard Hospital

The Future of Home care & staffing In Ireland

Speaker: Cora Murphy, Clinical Director, The Care Team

Family Caregivers and the wider community based supports – vital improvements needed for home care services

Speaker: Andrew McFarlane, CEO and Co-Founder of CareZapp

With special thanks to Sarah Flynn, Events Co-ordinator, CMG Events and The Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire. For further info please contact Sarah on sarah@cmgevents.ie or call 01 293 4764.