Boise Psychological Services

SeniorsAlzheimer's Disease

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's is a brain disease 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.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases.

Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early-onset Alzheimer's (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.

Alzheimer's worsens over time. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer's live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from three to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

Alzheimer's has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer treatments cannot stop Alzheimer's from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.

Some Symptoms of Dementia:

  • Memory loss is the earliest and most noticeable symptom
  • Difficulty recalling recent events
  • Not recognizing familiar people and places
  • Having trouble find the right words to express thoughts or name objects
  • Difficulty performing math calculations
  • Senior CounselingProblems planning an carrying out task, such as balancing a checkbook, following a recipe, or writing a letter
  • Trouble exercising judgment, such as knowing what to do in an emergency
  • Having difficulty controlling moods or behaviors along with agitation or aggression
  • Not keeping up personal care such as grooming or bathing
  • Getting lost or disoriented when driving a vehicle
  • If there is dementia with Lewy bodies there are highly detailed visual hallucinations and frequent falling
  • Frontotemporal dementia shows first symptoms of personality changes or unusual behavior. They may not express any caring for others, or they may say rude things, expose themselves or make sexually explicit comments.



Boise Psychological Services
913 So. Latah
Boise, Idaho 83705

Phone: 208.376.3546

Fax: 208.376.9792