How do I know is my husband's memory loss is Alzheimer's?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Jodine asked...

My husband is 66yrs old, His mother had either Alzheimers or dementia. Lately he has been forgetting things, things like our dog's name or the breed. Then recently he remembered a good friend only by her last name. How do I know whether this is just getting older or something more serious? I admit I am frightened, I have emphysema and COPD, and I don't know if I'm well enough to take care of him, and yet I won't institutionalize him.

Expert Answers

Helene Bergman, LMSW, is a certified geriatric care manager (C-ASWCM) and owner of Elder Care Alternatives, a professional geriatric care management business in New York City. She consults with nursing homes and daycare programs to develop specialized programs for Alzheimer's patients.

Many people begin to wonder whether forgetting a name or losing their keys is a sign of normal aging, depression or Alzheimer's. You are not alone! There are red flags to help you identify symptoms of early Alzheimers; check out the "10 signs of Alzheimer's Disease" on the Alzheimer Association website {Alzheimer's}. If you feel that your husband evidences some of these, it is suggested he have a full neuropsychiatric battery of tests to get a baseline. This can be done privately by a neuropsychiatrist or at one of the NAI/NIH Alzheimer Disease Centers in your local area. These Centers provide evaluation and treatment including drug research studies. Once you have a baseline, if your husband shows future memory loss, you can then reevaluate for clarity of diagnosis.