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

Alone’s COVID-19 support line and services for older people

ALONE have launched a COVID-19 support line, which is available to all older people including those that have never used their services before. Supporting the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE, ALONE’s support line is available at 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week.


The ALONE helpline offers advice and support for COVID-19 and other issues that are arising for older people at this time, including difficulties in relation to physical and mental health, loneliness, isolation, finance, safety, and housing. As well as ongoing telephone support, volunteers are also collecting and delivering prescriptions, groceries or other necessary items for the older people. ALONE’s network of support is constantly expanding and evolving to meet the needs of older people throughout Ireland.

They are working in collaboration with Local Authorities and the Local Authority Community Response Forum providing practical supports to older and medically vulnerable people. ALONE’s support line has become the leading national number for ‘Community Call’, an initiative that links local and national Government with the community and voluntary sectors to provide support to older people and those who are at risk at this time. The partnership is crucial in mobilising a rapid response in every county to make sure everyone is looked after.

ALONE have since launched a dedicated referral line for professionals including Home Care Providers, Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, Hospitals, Primary Care, the HSE, GP’s, members of PPN’s and other community services, including pharmacy staff. This referral pathway is operational seven days a week, Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday – Sunday 9am – 5pm by calling 01 223 3632. This number is specifically for professionals who wish to make a referral including your own staff, and all older people should continue to phone ALONE’s national support line number at 0818 222 024.

As family members, neighbours and communities return to work, there may be a reduction in supports available to those who are at risk. ALONE has highlighted that physical and mental health difficulties are causing increased challenges for older people, with many calling ALONE’s helpline to say they have fallen or are experiencing illness or pain, but do not want to go to GP surgeries or A&E due to anxiety around contracting COVID-19. Lack of access to chiropody and other services are having a direct impact on people’s ability to leave their home for exercise safely, and many callers indicate deconditioning and point to increasing frailty as a result of cocooning. ALONE have also noted a continuing increase in the number of older people expressing very low mood due to cocooning.

It is not yet know what the full impact of cocooning will have on our older people of Ireland, who are medically and socially vulnerable. So we are encouraging all older people experiencing difficulties to please seek help and for younger people to seek supports for older relatives and neighbours that Alone are offering. For more information visit https://alone.ie/

COVID-19 Everything you need to know

We would like to remind everyone to please use trusted sources only, for more information on COVID-19, healthcare and homecare workers information, mental health and the virus, government measures and employment please take a look at some of the below websites:

HSPC – information and guidance for healthcare workers https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/guidanceforhealthcareworkers/

HSE information on symptoms, treatment, self-isolation and more https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html

HSE – Minding your mental health https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/mental-health/minding-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html

HSEFacts and protecting ourselves https://www.smh.ie/assets/files/pdf/your_mental_wellbeing_during_covid-19.pdf

Gov.ieIreland and COVID-19. The latest updates on health advice, government measures, employment benefits etc https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/

We have lots of job vacancies available nationwide, please have a look at the jobs section on our website for something near you. You can also call our homecare team on 1800 400 900 and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/myhomecare/

National Carers Week 2018

National Carers Week 2018 

National Carers Week 2018

Monday 11th June – Sunday 17th June 

National Carers Week 2018 was established to highlight and recognise all the selfless carers.  In Ireland, we have a whopping 360,000 family carers. This years National Carers Week is in partnership with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, The Irish Cancer Society, The Irish Hospice Foundation, MS Ireland, Care Allianz Ireland, Central Remedial Clinic, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Disability Federation of Ireland, Family Carers Ireland, St Michael’s House, Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland and Special Needs Parents Association.

Who is a carer?

A carer is an angel without wings. The term ‘carer’ can be used to describe both a paid care worker or a family member providing unpaid personal help and support to an older, disabled person or someone with a long-term illness or health problem. Personal help includes help with basic tasks such as feeding, washing and dressing. A carer could be a man or woman looking after an elderly parent as they feel that it is the right thing to do. It could be a sibling looking after a younger, disabled sibling. It could be someone caring for a terminally-ill friend. Carers come in all different shapes and sizes. There are four types of people – those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.

What can you do?

The most important thing that you can do is to help a carer you know. If there is a carer in your family let them know that they are doing a wonderful job and that they are appreciated. Caring can have an impact on the carers social life, cause financial strain and can be mentally and physically exhausting. Take the workload off them by sharing the responsibilities between other family members, friends and neighbours. Help them and expect nothing back in return. A happy life is about giving more than you can take. Share blog posts, carer events or information that you see on social media to raise awareness about National Carers Week 2018.

Recognising our carers

Myhomecare would like to say a very special thanks to our dedicated and hard-working carers. We have such an exceptional team of the highest standards that work with us both internally and externally that are always willing to go above and beyond to ensure that only the best quality of care is provided. We would also like to acknowledge all carers across Ireland for their continuous hard-work. This week should encourage others to support carers who they know and give them the well-deserved break that they deserve.

Looking after the carer

The demand for care is increasing as people are living longer and family carers are looking for more support services like help from paid carers. Due to their dedication and nature, carers tend to neglect their own needs as they focus on the patient. This often leads to burnout or stress. The exhaustion from this stress can result in the reduction in the quality of care being delivered by the carer. To be able to care for someone else you need to look after yourself too.

Get help

It is important that if you feel you are experiencing signs of stress that you identify it and use techniques that help you unwind. If you are experiencing long-term stress that is affecting your health you should visit your doctor. Talk to someone and ask for help. People don’t like to burden others with their problems but speaking to someone can relieve tension and they might even be able to offer a solution to help.

Nationwide Events

Thu 14 Jun Louth Carers Support Group Exhibition
Details Louth Family Carers Support Group will mark Carers Week 2018 on June 14th from 1.45pm to 4pm.

Located in the Westcourt Hotel, Drogheda, the Louth Family Carers Support Group will present an afternoon dedicated to Carers issues.

This is a free event, and all are welcome to attend and join in recognising the valuable role carers play.

The local Redcross Community organisation will be one of the key exhibitors, and they will be showcasing their specially designed Carers App.

 

Location Westcourt Hotel, Drogheda
County Louth
Organiser Louth Family Carers Support Group
Contact Details 087 316 1323

louthfamilycarers@gmail.com

For a full list of nationwide events you can visit: http://www.carersweek.ie/events

To keep up to date with content about National Carers Week check our social pages

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myhomecare/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/myhomecare/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/myhomecare_ie