Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is often the first step to getting the help and care a senior needs. However, since Alzheimer’s is primarily a cognitive illness, a diagnosis isn’t as simple as just identifying physical symptoms. Instead, a doctor will need to take plenty of time to assess the senior’s condition to figure out whether he or she has Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some things you can expect to encounter when your doctor suspects your senior loved one might have Alzheimer’s.
Rule Out Other Possible Problems
One of the first things the doctor will do is start examining your loved one’s physical health. There are several conditions that can make a senior seem confused, forgetful, or moody, so the doctor needs to make sure the symptoms aren’t a sign of some other illness. This step might include a full physical health evaluation, including blood tests, urine tests, and imaging tests, which can help the doctor determine if something like a urinary tract infection, stroke, or tumor is the actual cause of the symptoms. If no other cause is found, the doctor will move on to further tests.
No matter what’s causing your loved one’s symptoms, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for the whole family. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Montgomery Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Test Memory and Cognitive Skills
If the doctor suspects Alzheimer’s disease, he or she will evaluate your loved one’s cognitive state with a variety of tests, which may involve your loved one answering questions, drawing pictures, identifying images, filling out forms, or using computer programs. The testing aims to get a picture of general memory ability, language skills, problem-solving abilities, counting, logic, and more. Some general practitioners are capable of carrying out these tests, but they often recommend specialists who have plenty of experience conducting tests to identify Alzheimer’s disease.
If your senior loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, help is just a phone call away. For reliable Alzheimer’s care, Montgomery families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of professional memory care designed to help seniors maintain a higher quality of life. In addition to Alzheimer’s care, we also provide comprehensive dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care. From revolutionary care programs to compassionate and dedicated caregivers, we can meet all of your Alzheimer’s care needs.
Look at Brain Scans
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it gradually causes people to lose their brain cells. In the early stages, brain cell degeneration may not be visible, but as Alzheimer’s progresses, the doctor may be able to see this loss of brain cells on an imaging test. Some cases of Alzheimer’s disease can be identified with MRIs, which use radio waves and magnets to show the brain, while others can be diagnosed with CT scans, which use X-ray imagery. There are also some newer diagnostic tests that use PET scans to identify the amyloid protein plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Interview Seniors and Their Families
A lot of the process of diagnosing Alzheimer’s is simply having conversations with seniors, their family members, and their friends. This step is necessary because the doctor needs to get an idea of your loved one’s usual behavior and look for signs that it’s changing over time. In these interviews, people should be prepared to discuss your loved one’s general personality, mood, activities, and more. They’ll also need to bring up any worrying signs they’ve noticed lately, such as specific instances of forgetfulness.
If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you don’t have to do it alone. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading elder care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (334) 593-3988 today.