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November is Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

Local organization tells how you can help loved ones

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. In Florida, it is estimated that 12 percent of seniors have Alzheimer's. In 10 years, that number is expected to grow to 50 percent, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Joy Roberts, Executive Director of Arbor Terrace Ortega, one of the only senior communities in Jacksonville focused on caring for residents with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, shares some ways you can help loved ones battling the disease.

According to alz.org Alzheimers is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Roberts says there are some steps families can take to help identify loved ones that may be impacted by Alzheimer's or other dementia diseases

"With the holidays approaching and many of us spending more time with our families, it may be a good time to check in on any older family members." Roberts says.

If you think your loved one may be displaying signs of memory loss, Arbor Terrace Ortega gives some common signs to look for that could mean the difference between normal aging and dementia:

· Unable to recall new or recent information

· Problems finding the right word, or using the wrong word

· Changes to general appearance such as weight and hygiene

· Temperature and cleanliness of home

· Condition and amount of food in refrigerator

Arbor Terrace Ortega says family members can ask some of the following questions to get a good sense of the state of their loved one:

· When is the last time you saw your doctor?

· Tell me about your medications, what do you take and when?

· Tell me how you spend your day?

· Have you been to church, bridge club, men's breakfast lately?

To help prevent mental decline, Arbor Terrace Ortega says it's important to stay active physically, socially and mentally. That can include doing mental exercises.

Memorize useful telephone numbers

· Look up a telephone number that will be useful to you

· Memorize it and test yourself five minutes later

· Then test yourself again one hour later, six hours later and the next day

Listings

· Pick a letter from the alphabet and think of as many items as you can that begin with that letter

· You can focus on specific topics such as countries, capitals, fruits, type of trees

· Work your way through the alphabet

Smartphone Apps

· There are several brain fitness apps for smartphones such as Lumosity and Elevate that track consistency in completing brain activities and give you daily reminders to complete your sessions