You've noticed a few changes in your loved one... mistakes, forgetfulness, losing stuff, etc. Is it Alzheimer's Disease or is it just age, stress, and having too much on one's mind?
There are several free tests that can be done online in total privacy to help you identify the signs of early cognitive function decline. The results could put your mind to rest because many of the symptoms we often jokingly (or fearfully) attribute to Alzheimer's are actually typical signs of aging, nothing more.
The following chart from the Alzheimer's Association shows some key differences:
Signs of Alzheimer's Disease
Typical age-related changes
|-Poor judgment and decision making||-Making a bad decision once in a while|
|-Inability to manage a budget||-Missing a monthly payment|
|-Losing track of the date or the season||-Forgetting which day it is and remembering later|
|-Difficulty having a conversation||-Sometimes forgetting which word to use|
|-Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them||-Losing things from time to time|
The 3-Minute Cognitive Function Test
This test is accurate, fast and easy enough to administer in a doctor's office. Called the Mini-Cog (miniature cognitive screening instrument), it has only 3 steps and takes just a few minutes to complete. It was designed to be used in a busy family practice where speed and efficiency are critical.
The Mini-Cog works like this: first the health care provider gives the patient the names of 3 unrelated items to memorize. Then the patient is asked to draw a clock face with the hands at a specific time. Lastly, he's asked to name the 3 items from step one. The results of these 3 tasks determine whether or not a full evaluation for dementia is needed.
Other Online Tests for Alzheimer's Disease
The Alzheimer's Association has a longer questionnaire on their website. It can also be used as a screening tool for cognitive impairment. It helps you differentiate the symptoms of dementia from age-related forgetfulness.
And lastly, the Canadian website On Memory has an interactive online quiz of 11 memory questions. It will very quickly tell you if your loved one might have early signs of illness.
Even though we don't know the exact cause of Alzheimer's Disease, there are risk factors that can increase one's chances of getting it. This list of risk factors is a good place to learn more.
Important Note, Please Read
Remember, these preliminary tests do NOT diagnose disease. They can only indicate that a further assessment by a health care professional may be in order. And if you're reluctant to be tested, read this article which explains why early diagnosis can work in your favor.
If Alzheimer's Disease has you stressing either for yourself or someone you love, it helps to talk. For a private and confidential sounding board to work out your problems, I'm always here. Contact me today to set up an appointment for an online consultation.