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Alzheimer's Helpline calls spike over holidays

The Western New York Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association expects a spike in calls to its 24-hour Helpline during this week as families spend more time together over the holidays.

"When you're home for days and you start to see mom or dad or an aunt or uncle or a loved one start to do things that look a little different, the calls to the helpline come in because they're trying to figure out what to do next," notes Executive Director Leilani Pelletier adding people ask, "Is it normal, is it not normal?"

Pelletier says the changes people may notice in older loved ones when they come home for the season, generally prompt an increase in questions about the warning signs of Alzheimers and calls to the help line.

"I'm getting the point now where I think a warning sign is a gut instinct almost," says Pelletier adding,  "When something in your gut tells you something is different with mom, something is wrong with mom. She's not remembering the things she used to."

Pelletier says changes in a loved ones memory doesn't necessarily mean they have Alzheimers.  She notes there are many reasons for memory changes, some as simple as vitamin deficiency.

Pelletier suggests if you have questions to call the help line or consult your doctor, adding that early detection is important since it can slow the progression of Alzheimers. 

The Alzheimer's Associations toll free Helpline number is 1-800-272-3900.