Alzheimer's disease is a skyrocketing epidemic. Although there is currently no treatment or cure, empowering yourself with knowledge about getting an Alzheimer's diagnosis and the care and resources that are available, will give you the support and tools you need to navigate the devastating impact Alzheimer's can take on your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Your memory often changes as you grow older. But memory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging. It may be a symptom of dementia. Dementia is a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, a fatal disorder that results in the loss of brain cells and function.
It may be hard to know the difference between age related changes and the first signs of Alzheimer's disease. Some people may recognize changes in themselves before anyone else notices. Other times, friends and family will be the first to observe in memory, behavior and abilities.
To help identify problems early, the Alzheimer's Association has created a list of warning signs for Alzheimer's and related dementias. It is important to remember individuals may experience one or more of these in different degrees.
If you or someone you care about it is experiencing any of the warning signs, please see a doctor to find the cause. Early diagnosis gives you a chance to educate yourself and plan for the future. There is no single test that proves a person has Alzheimer's. The workup is designed to evaluate overall health and identify any conditions that could affect how well the mind is working.
Experts estimate that a skilled physician can diagnose Alzheimer's with more than 90 percent accuracy. Physicians can almost always determine that a person has dementia, but it may sometimes be difficult to determine the exact cause.
Steps to diagnosis include:
Contact the Alzheimer's Association if you need help finding a doctor with experience evaluating memory problems. Call the 24/7 FREE Helpline: 800.272.3900
Alzheimer's puts you at greater risk of financial abuse. Putting financial plans in place is important for everyone, but taking control of financial affairs is especially vital for someone with memory loss. Upon diagnosis, family and friends should help individuals make financial plans. The sooner the planning begins, the more the person with dementia may be able to participate in decision making. Approximately 5.1 million American elders over 65 have some kind of dementia. Research indicates that people with dementia are at greater risk of elder financial abuse than those without. For business owners this puts them and their families at risk as well as their business entity and employees who rely on them. Financial exploitation is a fast-growing form of abuse of seniors and adults with disabilities. Situations of financial exploitation commonly involve trusted persons in the life of the vulnerable adult, such as:
After diagnosis, it is important to find professional assistance to help determine your financial needs, goals and develop a financial plan that works for your family and you. The Alzheimer's Association and Torrey Pines Bank are here to help you find the resources you need to develop a financial care plan including a list of referrals to respected trust and estate attorneys and professional fiduciaries should you need quality advice from licensed professionals.
Alzheimer's is also the costliest disease in the U.S. today. In 2013, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer's in the U.S. will total an estimated $203 billion. Unless something is done, Alzheimer's will cost an estimated $1.2 trillion (in today's dollars) in 2050. There are several advisors who can help you with the financial demands of a diagnosis. Click here to learn more »
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Walk to End Alzheimer's® is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support and research. Join over 4,000 San Diegans as we walk towards the promise of a cure for tomorrow.
Volunteers make a difference! The Alzheimer's Association San Diego/Imperial Chapter counts on the support of more than 500 volunteers each year. Chapter volunteers receive orientation, training, and ongoing information sessions.
To sign on as an Alzheimer's Association volunteer, start by filling out our online volunteer application.