We thought we'd bring you some advice on how to detect alzheimer's. We do not claim to be experts so we have to thank and acknowledge www.alz.org for this information which we hope you find useful ...
Alzheimer’s is a condition that can creep up on anyone but how can you tell if day to day incidents you do are early signs or just typical age-related changes. Here are ten signs you can look out for.
Memory Loss that disrupts daily life - One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
What's a typical age-related change? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later
Challenges in planning or solving problems - Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
What's a typical age-related change? Making occasional errors when balancing accounts.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure - People with Alzheimer's often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favourite game.
What's a typical age-related change? Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
Confusion with Time or Place - People with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
What's a typical age-related change? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships - For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining colour or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.
What's a typical age-related change? Vision changes related to cataracts.
New problems with words in speaking or writing - People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a "watch" a "hand-clock").
What's a typical age-related change? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps - A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
What's a typical age-related change? Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.
Decreased or poor judgment - People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
What's a typical age-related change? Making a bad decision once in a while.
Withdrawal from work or social activities - A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
What's a typical age-related change? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations
Changes in mood and personality - The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
What's a typical age-related change? Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
Just letting you know we are taking a break over the Christmas and New Year holidays and will be back refreshed and with lots of great advice and articles from 9 January. In the meantime we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Enjoy your holidays, relax, spend time with families and if you are heading away have safe travels!
As you age often those adrenalin filled activities that you thrived on in your younger years often lose their appeal. However getting older gives you no excuses for sitting back and not getting out and being active.
Here are a few alternatives however that you can enjoy, meet great people and keep active without having to actually extend yourself too far!
Most retirement villages and local areas seem to have an obligatory Bowls Club. Bowls may often seem a little tame compared to other sports but don’t be deceived, there is real skill required! Rather than a test of stamina it is more a test of hand/eye coordination and strategy.
The aim of the game is to roll your bowls closest to the “jack” or “kitty” that is sent to one end of the green. Bowls can be played as singles, doubles or triples. The balls are weighted on one side so they don’t run straight which is where much of the skill comes in.
You will find most clubs will play “roll up” games where any club member can turn up and also hold Club Tournaments.
There are often locations too for indoor bowls which work on the same principles.
When you talk about croquet you conjure up images of English lawns, finely dressed ladies and afternoon tea in the gardens!
Like bowls it appears deceptively easy to play but again there is a certain degree of skill to get the balls cleanly through the hoops. Often referred to a cross between snooker and chess played on a large lawn it is a thinking person’s sport and once mastered it is a game of strategy, discipline and calculated risk, both mentally stimulating and competitive.
Croquet provides a sporting challenge, gentle exercise and companionship.
If you love the water and don’t have a boat, Kayaking is a good alternative. Once you own a kayak, paddle and life jacket there are no on-going costs. If you don’t want to lift your kayak on your car roof you can get H frame trailers.
You can get sit in or sit on kayaks. The sit on version is better for sea paddling. If you have a sit in kayak and want to go out in all temperatures you can often get a “skirt” to keep water out. Kayaking is wiser to do with someone else and so is a great option for a couple of good friends to head out together.
Nothing can be more healthy thank a good brisk walk! You can vary your scenery with cliff walks, bush walks, through our glorious regional parks or even walks around town centres. If you are visiting an area ask the local Department of Conservation Office or Visitor Centre who should be able to provide you with maps.
Walking is of course not only peaceful and good for you as a gentle form of exercise (or you can make it as vigorous as you wish) but also a great way to see places not often accessible by car.
If you don’t want to walk alone most areas have walking clubs where you can join likeminded people and enjoy the scenery together. The club will often have organised walks that you are able to join.
In our series of posts which take you back in time in New Zealand's history today let us reminisce about Opo and the Wahine...
OPO THE DOLPHIN
For almost 12 months, from 1955 to 1956, the locals of a small and charming seaside town on the Hokianga Harbour in Northland were captivated by the attention and antics of a young female bottlenose dolphin.
Opononi George, or Opo, became known as the “gay dolphin” because of her playful and approachable antics. Opo began approaching locals in the summer of 1955 apparently wanting to make contact with the swimmers and people. She enjoyed frolicking in the shallows particularly enjoying the company of children and allowing them to balance on her back and for people to pat her. She also enjoyed juggling balls and balancing bottles on her snout.
As news travelled of Opo and her antics in late 1955, visitors came from far and wide making the small seaside town of Opononi the place to visit that summer and filling the local campsite and small hotel.
With the increase in attention locals became concerned about the fate of Opo and set up the Opononi Gay Dolphin Protection Committee calling on government support for dolphin protection. This resulted in the passing of an order in council making it an offence to take or molest any dolphin in the Hokianga Harbour incurring a 50 pound fine.
Sadly, Opo was found dead the day after the order was passed, her death shrouded in mystery.
Messages of sympathy poured in from around the country including from the Governor-General. Opo was buried in front of the beach where she had entertained so many people and a statue was erected in her memory. A song was written about Opo and she has become an important character in the history of New Zealand!
THE WAHINE DISASTER
The sinking of the Lyttelton–Wellington ferry Wahine on 10 April 1968 was New Zealand’s worst modern maritime disaster. Fifty-one people lost their lives that day, another died several weeks later and a 53rd victim died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck. The Wahine’s demise also marked a coming of age for television news broadcasting in New Zealand as images of the disaster were beamed into the nation’s living rooms. The footage was later screened around the world as the international media spotlight focused on Wellington.
Would-be rescuers stood helplessly on the beach at Seatoun as the Wahine succumbed to one of the worst storms recorded in New Zealand history. It seemed impossible that so many lives could be lost so close to shore. Although the main cause of the accident was the atrocious weather conditions, the subsequent inquest also acknowledged that errors of judgement had been made both on board the ferry and on shore. Shipwrecks were commonplace in the 19th century, but this was the 1960s – how could a large, modern vessel founder almost within sight of New Zealand’s capital city?
'The Wahine disaster', URL: www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/wahine-disaster, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012
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