Warning signs: What you need to know about detecting Alzheimer’s early

HARLINGEN — Alzheimer’s disease is considered one of the most difficult to deal with — especially as a family member.

Nobody can prepare you to watch your loved one’s mind gradually deteriorate.

Harlingen’s Janice Workman has watched her mother, aunt and grandfather all suffer through this debilitating disease. Knowing how difficult it is, she wants local residents to be more informed about all facets of the disease. That is why she has organized this talk tonight about the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Workman has been part of the Alzheimer’s Walk events in Brownsville, but states there are few organized events or programs about the disease in Harlingen.

This is the first talk like this in Harlingen, but she hopes not the last.

“There are a lot of different topics you can talk about,” she says. “The Valley and Harlingen just don’t have a lot of this.”

She already has received some feedback and people who plan to attend the talk tonight.

The warning signs of Alzheimer’s are often dismissed as side effects of normal aging.

However, early detection can give people an opportunity to begin drug therapy, enroll in clinical studies and plan for the future.

The “Know the 10 Signs” program will separate myths from reality and address commonly-held fears about Alzheimer’s in America.

“The idea is to educate,” Workman said.

It’s also a place to find others for support.

Years ago, Workman said she was unable to find the support she needed here in the area. Instead, she found it on message boards through the Alzheimer’s Association.

She would like to see much more support in this area for those going through the struggles she did.

There are Alzheimer’s Walks in Brownsville and Edinburg. Workman has been involved with the one in Brownsville, which has been going on for a few years.

She hopes tonight’s program can be the start of something bigger in this area.

“A successful night would be someone coming and learning about Alzheimer’s,” Workman said. “More success would be figuring out what we can do for further presentations.”

Alzheimers

If You Go

WHAT: The 10 signs of Alzheimer’s program

WHERE: Harlingen Public Library

WHEN: Tonight, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Did You Know?

Every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s dementia

By 2050 someone in the U.S. will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds

An 89 percent increase in deaths due to Alzheimer’s between 2000 and 2014

Source: alz.org

10 Warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s or another dementia

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure

4. Confusion with time or place

5. Trouble understanding visual images and special relationships

6. New problem with words or speaking or writing

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

8. Decreased or poor judgment

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

10. Changes in mood and personality