Disorientation and Alzheimers Disease

Disorientation (or not knowing who or where you are or what day month etc it is), is very common in Alzheimers disease.  It's also noted as one of the defining early symptoms, and as it is very closely connected with a person's memory or the ability to remember, it's what you might expect.

Little things disappear first, and it's usually so gradual that it's not noticed for weeks or even months by family or friends.

For instance, an Alzheimer's sufferer may look around them puzzled as they are not sure where they are, even though it may be familiar surroundings. They will forget your name or birthdays.

It's usually the more distant things that tend to disappear first such as the current year, or year of birth. It might be the part of the date of someone's birthday that is used the least they tend to forget or find has escaped them.

Gradually the symptoms of Alzheimers disease will become more pronounced. They will forget the correct month or time of year, then they will be unsure of the days of the week or what their own name is. Eventually their memory loss will become so poor that they remain in a constant state of disorientation and confusion.

Getting lost outside the home is a problem usually found towards the later stages of the illness. There are many stories told of people who travel to a home they lived in 30 years or so previously.

This is because their short term memory is dysfunctional, and has been replaced with their long term memories. They no longer remember they moved from that house so many years ago.

Alzheimers disease in the later stages can pose extra problems for those people for whom English, for instance, is a second language.

Because their short term memory is affected, people who suffer with Alzheimers disease often lose the ability to speak or understand others speaking in their adopted language. This can, of course, cause further communication problems with others around them.

Eventually even their ability to read, write and converse is lost and the Alzheimers sufferer retreats into their own little world.

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