Can You Spot the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Speech therapy can help your loved one live a more fulfilling life!Did you know that May is Better Speech and Hearing Month? Each year the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) dedicates the month of May to this campaign, designed to raise public awareness of communication disorders: how to identify them, what they are, and how intervention can improve communication and your overall quality of life. This year’s theme is Early Intervention Counts! In support of this campaign, for the month of May, we’ll be dedicating our blogs to issues in speech-language therapy, and the importance of early identification and intervention for a range of different disorders. This week, we’ll talk about Alzheimer’s Disease.

According to the most recent studies, approximately 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s dementia. This disease affects memory, language, and general cognitive functioning. While we still don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s, treatments including pharmaceuticals and communication and cognitive therapy with a speech-language pathologist can help slow the advance of the disease and greatly improve quality of life. When these treatments are used can make a big difference; early intervention typically has the most significant effect. Unfortunately, most people with Alzheimer’s don’t seek help until the disease has already progressed and begun to significantly impact their life. Take a look at these 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease from the Alzheimer’s Association, and you may be able to help someone you love get the help they need:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

None of these signs in and of themselves indicate a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. There are also many typical age-related changes that are similar to these signs and symptoms, but are less severe. To learn more about these signs and symptoms and how to distinguish them from typical aging, take a look at the Alzheimer’s Association’s website: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp#signs

If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to jayne@speechassociatesofny.com. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved

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