If you think that someone you know is showing signs of Alzheimer's disease, it may be useful to begin keeping track of any changes in their behaviour in a Symptom Diary. This will help you to:
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- share your observations with their doctor
- discuss your specific concerns with the person and other members of your family
- monitor for any possible side effects of medications
And, if you're supporting someone who's already been diagnosed with the disease, keeping a Symptom Diary is useful too because it can help monitor the progress of the disease, and track the effects of treatment.
When filling out the diary, you should record changes that you've noticed in the person you care about. Consider what's normal for that person, and ask yourself the following questions:
MemoryIs the person able to remember names and events, recognise friends and family, and understand instructions?
CommunicationsDoes he or she take part in conversation and is he or she able to find appropriate words?
Sense of time and placeCan the individual keep track of the time (day, year, season)? How is his or her orientation (i.e. does the individual know where he or she is)? And can he or she navigate around their home and community?
Everyday activitiesCan the person eat, dress, groom and use the bathroom on his or her own?
Household tasks and hobbiesIs the person showing a reduced ability to perform tasks they once performed well, such as shopping, handling money, cooking, cleaning, using appliances and the phone, or setting the table? And has he or she lost interest in social events and hobbies?
Mood and behaviourIs the person sad, angry or irritable for no apparent reason? Is he or she behaving inappropriately for a particular situation (such as disrobing in a public area) or showing a lack of interest in things?