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We've designed this tool to help you identify certain symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
The report generated after the exercise may help you discuss these observed symptoms with
your loved one's doctor, which can help stage the disease.
This exercise is offered as a resource for caregivers. The exercise and the final report
are not intended to suggest that any treatment for Alzheimer's disease, including
NAMENDA XR® (memantine hydrochloride), may provide a benefit
to any of the specific symptoms presented or identified.
There is no evidence that NAMENDA XR or an AChEI prevents or slows the underlying disease process in patients
with Alzheimer's disease.
You will be taken through a series of questions. You will be asked whether you have
noticed a symptom, and if so, how severe the symptom is, and how often it occurs.
Answering these questions will generate a report, which you can print to facilitate
a meaningful discussion with the doctor. You must answer each question to get your
This will take several minutes, and you'll be able to finish it in one sitting.
Remember, only a doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis. This is not meant to
be a diagnostic tool.
Although being called by a different name or not being recognized can be painful,
try not to make your hurt apparent.
Show photos and other reminders.
Use photographs and other thought-provoking items to remind your loved one of important
relationships and places.
Try not to take it personally.
Alzheimer's disease causes your loved one to forget, but your support and understanding
will continue to be appreciated.
Memory loss is probably something you've noticed in your loved one. But the progressive
nature and increasing degree by which thinking and memory are affected is important
Look for a reason behind the repetition. Try to find out if there
is a specific cause or trigger for the behavior.
Provide an answer. Give the person the answer that he or she is
looking for, even if you have to repeat it several times.
Use memory aids. If the person asks the same questions over and
over again, offer reminders by using notes, clocks, calendars, or photographs, if
these items are still meaningful to the individual.
Accept the behavior, and work with it. If it isn't harmful, don't
worry about it. Find ways to work with it.
Next Previous step
Respond with a brief explanation.
Don't overwhelm your loved one with lengthy statements. Instead, clarify with a
Show photos and other reminders.
Use pictures and other thought-provoking items to remind them of familiar relationships
Offer corrections as suggestions.
Avoid explanations that sound like scolding. Try "I thought that was a fork," or
"I think she is your granddaughter, Julie."
Alzheimer's disease can make it difficult for your loved one to recognize familiar
people, places and things. He or she may forget the purpose of common items, relationships,
or family members' names.
Keep good eye contact.
Show the person that you care about what he or she is saying.
Avoid criticizing, correcting, and arguing.
If the person uses the wrong word or cannot find a word, try guessing the right
If you don't understand what is being said, ask the person to point or gesture.
Use short, simple words and sentences.
Talk slowly and clearly.
Repeat information and questions.
If the person doesn't respond, wait a moment. Then ask again.
Give simple explanations.
Avoid using logic and reason at great length. Give a complete response in a clear
and concise way.
Alzheimer's disease can gradually diminish people's ability to think and communicate
like they used to.
A person may be at risk for wandering if he or she:
Comes back from a regular walk later than usual.
Tries to fulfill former obligations, such as going to work.
Tries or wants to "go home" even when at home.
Has a hard time locating familiar places like the bathroom, bedroom, or dining room.
Acts as if doing a hobby or chore, but nothing gets done (eg, moves around pots and dirt without actually planting anything).
Try to have the person get dressed at the same time each day, so
he or she will come to expect it as part of the daily routine.
Encourage the person to dress himself / herself to whatever degree possible.
Plan to allow extra time so there is no pressure or rush.
Arrange clothes in the order they are to be put on to help the
person move through the process.
Hand the person one item at a time or give clear, step-by-step
instructions if the person needs prompting.
Finish Previous step
You have just completed the Symptom Recognition Tool exercise.
You can now generate and print your report, and use it as a guide
when you talk to your loved one's doctor about treatment options
during your next visit.