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What are Alzheimer's and Dementia?

 

Alzheimer’s disease is a medical condition, not a mental illness. Confusion, disorientation and stress behaviors are the result of progressive damage to the brain caused by the disease process.  Dementia can be either irreversible or reversible, and can be caused by a number of things, such as a dementia disorder, malnutrition, exhaustion, and some medications.

If your loved one has gone missing and has a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia, some or all of the following signs may be present: 

  • May be elderly, but not always
  • Lost and disoriented
  • Confused about the date, time or place
  • Driving erratically but not intoxicated
  • Not following traffic regulations
  • Does not know home address or phone number
  • Seems confused by questions
  • Responds with vague or incomplete answers
  • May have difficulty with language and finding the right word
  • Responds with inappropriate anger; appears uncooperative
  • Reports that family members cannot be trusted
  • May have a blank gaze
  • Does not understand why others are upset with behavior
  • May be dressed inappropriately
  • May be wearing a special identification or MedicAlert bracelet for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Make serious errors in judgment, such as driving into water
  • May experience hallucinations or delusions
  • May not recognize law enforcement officers
  • May not ask for help
  • May have co-occurring illnesses
  • Extremely vulnerable
  • Unable to take care of themselves