Dementia - the Caregiver’s Point-of-View

Alzheimers symptoms were thought to be part of normal aging

(RxWiki News) In a survey, caregivers said they often mistook some symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) as normal aging. They thought that the mistake delayed a diagnosis.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) asked caregivers about how much they knew about the symptoms of AD.

Caregivers said they knew about all the symptoms, but it was the memory problems that led to a doctor visit. Seeking a doctor’s advice about all your loved ones symptoms may be important.

"Ask a doctor about signs of AD."

AD can have behavioral symptoms, like wandering, and cognitive symptoms, like memory loss.  The symptoms can show up in different ways for each person with AD.

People with AD are often unaware of how their symptoms are affecting their lives. Because of this, caregivers may be important for helping people with AD get the help they need.

The AFA surveyed 750 adults who are caregivers but did not have any special training. They asked questions about the caregiver’s experiences and knowledge of the symptoms of AD.

They found that 72 percent of the people said that they knew about both behavioral and cognitive symptoms before their loved one was diagnosed.

However, 64 percent of the people said that they thought the behavioral symptoms were just part of normal aging, and 67 percent of them said that they thought that their misconceptions delayed the diagnosis.

Most people sought a doctor’s advice after cognitive symptoms showed up. Only 12 percent of the people said that the behavioral symptoms were the reason for the doctor’s visit that led to a diagnosis.

When asked about how well they managed the different symptoms, 38 percent said they managed the cognitive symptoms better. Only 14 percent said they managed the behavioral symptoms better.

The remaining 52 percent said they managed both types of symptoms well.

Understanding all the symptoms may help you know what your loved one's doctor needs to know.  People caring for an elderly loved one can talk to a doctor about the symptoms of AD.

The AFA website ( also has information about symptoms of AD and other helpful information for caregivers.

The results of this survey were published on the AFA website in September. Harris Interactive, a market research firm, conducted the survey on behalf of the AFA.

Review Date: 
September 20, 2012