Is it Alzheimer’s?

By Clarice Cagle Cook, CDP

According to the Alzheimer’s Association of America, Alzheimer’s Foundation at, 

-Alzheimer’s is one of the most common causes of dementia.-People with dementia do not necessarily have Alzheimer’s-Alzheimer’s is not a normal symptom of aging.

Alzheimer’s typically begins with short-term memory loss that lasts beyond the normal forgotten thought.  In a normal situation, a person might rarely lose a line or topic in speech or the location of keys, etc.

There are common factors in onset dementia and/or Alzheimer‘s, in that recent memory loss is frequent.  As the disease progresses for the Alzheimer‘s patient, long and short term memories fade away forever.

Symptoms in each person with a memory loss disease may progress differently from the onset.

 Degenerative brain diseases are Alzheimer’s , Pick’s, Vascular, Huntington, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Frontal-Temporal Lobe, and Parkinsonian type dementias, such as Lewy  Body and others.  Part of the difference is damage from protein in the originating and affected part of the brain where the information is processed.  Another difference is the chemical component that is affecting the normal flow and processing of data.

In considering whether a person may or may not have a specific dementia disease, other issues must first be considered.  Are the symptoms caused by a health issue such as medication side effects, urinary tract infections, mini strokes or other events.  The primary care physician should have a complete physical work-up done before diagnosing any dementia disease.

Are the symptoms temporary?  Has there been a lot of stress and sleep deprivation? Is Mom/Dad dieting to excess and not drinking enough water.  Good nutrition and hydrating the body will help the brain to function better.  Forgetting where the keys are could be the result of bad organizational habits and not focusing due to depression or over doing the multi-tasking.

Explore all possibilities before assuming the worst.  Worrying about whether or not dementia is the answer adds stress, which is a big cause of dementia.

Find solutions as a caregiver with paperback books Creating the Dynamic Dementia Care Team and Memory Path Care Solutions at or for those who prefer talking books, go to, or I Tunes for narrated books on CD.