Alzheimer's: Not Just About Memory But Ability To Plan, Organize And Reason


By Gloria H Schneider

Most of us notice subtle signs of change when our parents begin to age. It is expected they begin to move more slowly, have less strength, dexterity and energy. It is also normal to have reduced hearing and vision issues or possible problems with incontinence. Even some memory changes are a normal part of the aging process. Beginning as early as our 30's, the brain's weight, size of its nerve network, and its blood flow can begin to decrease. It is fairly common to have less recall of recent memories and to be slower remembering names and details.

Many elderly people are experiencing some or all of the above symptoms of aging but most of them still live at home, drive their cars, do their own shopping, cooking and participate in social activities. So when are friends or adult children of an elderly parent supposed to realize that something is wrong? One can find the answer from WCBS medical correspondent Dr. Max Gomez and countless others in the elderly healthcare industry. Those who suddenly find themselves dealing with a parent or loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease will be looking for answers and a way to cope. Many turn to Skilled Nursing Facilities Los Angeles to ease the burden of caring for their loved ones. Often the very functionality of a parent, albeit somewhat compromised by age, can mask symptoms of disease or serious problems that can easily be overlooked.

Even with his medical training, Dr. Gomez says he missed the warning signs of Alzheimer's disease until three years ago, when he discovered his father had lost every dollar he'd earned. His father retired OB/GYN Dr. Max Gomez, Sr., admittedly was poor with money management, but Dr. Gomez suffered more than a few bad investments. He is now penniless, living in a care facility paid for by Medicaid. Although no longer practicing medicine, Dr. Gomez still had the title of medical director at a clinic. The clinic named him legally responsible for multiple commercial loans, and took out mortgages in his name. The FBI began investigating the situation when Dr. Gomez's identification was found to have been used to file millions in false Medicare claims. It was also discovered that a former girlfriend had been writing checks worth thousands of dollars against his savings account.

In Alzheimer's disease, nerve cells die in key brain regions. One of the first is the hippocampus. Damage to the hippocampus, and later the frontal lobe, affect the ability to plan, organize and reason, both crucial aspects for managing money. "You can't retain the facts because of memory, and you can't utilize the facts efficiently," explained, Mony Jon de Leon, director of the NYU Center for Brain Health. "It's very hard - as people become deteriorated - to manage finances." In conclusion, even though an elderly parent is functional, lucid and appears to be in control, taking an inventory of sorts of their financial situation and how they are handling their money, may be a good safeguard. If you suspect your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia it might be a good idea to get a consultant from an Assisted Living Dementia facility to help assess their condition.

A Few Early Warning Signs Of Alzheimer's Disease:

  • Challenges in ability to plan or solve problems
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work, family or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Memory problems that affect behavior and reasoning. For example, losing or misplacing an item with the inability to retrace steps and actions to locate it.

About The Author: Gloria Ha'o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Assisted Living Facilities and the Elderly Healthcare industry to provide resources to families and their elderly loved ones across the nation. is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. provides the perfect match between seniors searching for independent accommodations such as Assisted Living Facilities Los Angeles, Board and Care Facilities, Skilled Nursing Facilities, as well as a variety of Home Healthcare services nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-34, visit or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

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