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How to spot early warning signs for Alzheimer's Disease

Checking on family over the holidays
Posted at 11:42 AM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 11:42:11-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As we wrap up National Alzheimer’s Disease month, it’s top of mind.

You may plan to spend more time with older family members over the holidays, either in person or virtually, doctors warned to be mindful of anything unusual.

“I always say it is like living life on repeat,” said Grace-Ann Ferguson, a caretaker for her mother battling Alzheimer’s disease. “The hard part is not knowing what the future is going to look like.”

Like many families, she denied what she was seeing at first.

“You compare yourself to the person, ‘Oh sometimes, I forget things as well,’” she said. “You find yourself somewhat in denial, especially when it is someone so close to you. You want to believe that, no, that's not what it is. You tend to dismiss it even though the signs may be there.”

Dr. Arif Dalvi, the director of the Memory Disorder Center at the Palm Beach Neuroscience Institute at St. Mary’s Medical Center, said memory issues do come with age. But at a certain point, you need to take note.

“When these issues increase to the point where they are having a negative impact on daily living, whether it's at the job, it's at home, that is when you have to start to be concerned."

Dr. Dalvi said it’s important to get the correct diagnosis.

“If you are having memory trouble, get yourself evaluated by a neurologist,” he said.

Dr. Dalvi pointed to getting looked at in a timely matter to slow progression.

“There are a lot of factors that are reversible or treatable,” he said.

“Seek help right away,” Ferguson agreed. “I would say once you start seeing it, try not to question yourself.”