The Baby Boom generation is getting older and experts say there will be an epidemic of dementia in the years to come. Kathie Bickerstaff is with the Nebraska Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and says it is estimated by the age of 85, fifty-percent of that population will have some form of dementia with Alzheimer’s the most prevalent.
Bickerstaff says early signs of Alzheimer’s include forgetting important dates or events or asking for the same information over again. She says perhaps the biggest sign is in the decision making process. Another sign is putting items in unusual places and then accusing others of stealing.
Bickerstaff says six in 10 people with Alzheimer’s or dementia have a tendency to wander, even in the early stages. Friends and family should watch out for returning from a walk or driver later than expected. Those with Alzheimer’s also mention often they want to go home even though they are in their own house or think they need to go to work.
Bickerstaff says there are now many safety tools available for friends and family of dementia patients. She says GPS tracking devices and medical alert jewelry are ways to help alert others that a loved one is missing. She says if the person wanders they recommend putting a deadbolt high or low on the door so it isn’t easily seen. However, Bickerstaff warns never to lock a person with dementia inside with no way out. That could lead to other safety issues.
For more tips and resources contact the Alzheimer’s Association.