Is Mom Just Forgetful, Or Could It Be Alzheimer's ?



Is Mom Just Forgetful, or Could It Be Alzheimer’s?

Many of us will face the challenge of aging parents, yet despite the predictability of the situation, most of us will find ourselves unprepared. The emotional stress that comes with caring for an older parent is made worse by the fear of, and common misunderstandings about Alzheimer’s disease. If you suspect someone you care about might be suffering from Alzheimer’s it is important to be educated about the disease in order to prepare for the future, and provide appropriate care today.

With this in mind, The Hannah B.G. Shaw Home is inviting the Middleboro and surrounding communities to a free seminar on Alzheimer’s disease, presented by one of Boston’s top neurologists. The lecture will be held on Tuesday, December 10 at 6 PM at 299 Wareham St., Middleboro, MA 02346. Refreshments will be served and seating is limited, so please RSVP to 508-947-0332, extension 214, or by email to All are welcome.

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process. The supportive family and caregivers suffer through this slow and tragic experience. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, up to 10 million Americans struggle with the task of looking after a relative with Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. Caring for an affected individual is often a full-time, unpaid job; many caregivers work over 40 hours a week, doing household tasks, going to appointments and watching over their loved ones. This amount of pressure and stress is emotionally, financially and physically taxing; it can lead to anxiety, depression as well as an impaired immune system and exhaustion.

So what is Alzheimer’s? How can you tell if what you are seeing are the signs of a degenerative disease or just plain simple forgetfulness? The early signs of Alzheimer’s can be subtle and it may be difficult to recognize when a parent is experiencing the early stages of the disease. This challenge is further complicated by the reluctance of the individual experiencing memory loss to admit or report it. Warning signs could include getting lost in a familiar area of town, misplacing things, trouble retracing steps, or difficulty planning and solving problems. Additionally, random mood changes or, depending on the person, unusual or aggressive behavior could be the beginning signs of the disease. Age is also a factor, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, of all cases of dementia, Alzheimer's accounts for 50-80% with more than 95% of cases occurring in those aged 65 and older.

Once you recognize the signs, it is important not to delay taking action. Being informed about Alzheimer’s disease is the first step to dealing with the worry and anxiety that overwhelms many families, as well as the first step to preparing for the future.

The seminar at The Hannah B.G. Shaw Home will be presented by Dr. Albert A. Ackil, Associate Neurologist at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Dr. Ackil will describe, from a physician’s point of view, how Alzheimer’s disease presents in an individual, as well as the diagnostics and treatment options. This information will be invaluable to families and care givers who suspect or know that their loved one may be suffering from Alzheimer’s. In addition to providing essential information, the event aims to bring together people of the community that are experiencing the same difficulties. It is important to recognize that dealing with this devastating disorder is not something that is easily accomplished alone.