Memory-loss and confusion, common signs of dementia, can be caused by different medical issues in seniors. Talking to your family physician is your first step, but also get a full assessment by a doctor that specializes in caring for older adults. -AGE blog staff
Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s isn’t always accurate
Martin Rosenfeld’s loved ones dreaded what might be next: a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
He had called too many times — confused and frustrated — from a parking lot outside his synagogue, after driving there in the middle of the night for services that wouldn’t begin for hours.
Once a meticulous pattern-maker in the clothing industry, he now nodded off mid-conversation. Spilled things. Mumbled.
“We’d be getting calls all night long. He’d say, ‘What time is it? Can I get up now?’ ” said his daughter, Shelley Rosenberg, whose husband, Don Rosenberg, chairs the Alzheimer’s Association — Greater Michigan Chapter.
Rosenfeld’s confusion, which turned out to be caused partly by sleep apnea, reflects what the head of Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology worries is a growing trend in the number of Americans being wrongfully assumed — even medically misdiagnosed — with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia and perhaps the most feared disease of old age.
“It’s a real problem. If you’re older and you get a label of Alzheimer’s — even a hint that you have Alzheimer’s — there’s no more critical thinking about it. You’re written off by a lot of people,” said Peter Lichtenberg, head of the institute and a clinical psychologist who has testified in several probate cases in which a person’s mental capacity was at issue.