If it’s been a while since you’ve seen an older relative, Iowans may be noticing certain signs over the long holiday weekend in how they’re acting that might indicate the start of a problem.

Megan Benzing, program manager for the Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, says it’s supposed to be a joyful time of thanksgiving, but it’s also an opportunity to take note of potential warning signs which may warrant further action.

“This is the time of year where families start gathering around the dinner table for Thanksgiving and gathering for Christmas,” Benzing says. “It’s a very difficult time because this is going to be the time where all the family members may start to notice that their loved ones are experiencing changes in their memory, their thinking and their behaviors.”

Some of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially early on, include forgetting recently-learned information, challenges planning or solving problems, and difficulty completing familiar tasks. It can be troublesome to watch a loved one struggle with what should be a simple chore.

“That might be confusing for a lot of people. They may not know what’s going on with their loved one but they should know that the Alzheimer’s Association is available around the clock 365 days a year,” Benzing says. “If you need to reach out and talk to somebody, we are available through our 24/7 helpline.”

That number is 800-272-3900. There are also a variety of resources available online.

Radio Iowa