You’re sitting at the dinner table with your family members when suddenly your grandpa calls you the wrong name. At first you just brush it off, but then you notice he seems to call everyone the wrong name and look genuinely confused when somebody corrects him. This could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease which negatively affects cognitive function. Adults 65 and older are typically more at-risk for developing Alzheimer’s and unfortunately, the disease only worsens as time goes on. If you’re worried that your loved one may have Alzheimer’s, there are 10 early signs and symptoms to look out for.
10 early signs and symptoms to look out for
If your loved one is often forgetting important dates, repeatedly asking the same questions, relying more on family members to handle things they used to handle themselves, and forgetting information as soon as they’ve learned it; this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s. Occasionally forgetting names or appointments but remembering later is considered normal.
Difficulty Problem-Solving & Planning
When it comes to numbers, a person living with early Alzheimer’s may have trouble concentrating and managing finances, resulting in taking much longer to complete tasks than usual.
Difficulty Completing Simple Tasks
e.g., Driving in a familiar location can suddenly become unfamiliar.
Confusion with Time or Place
Your loved one may not remember what day of the week it is or have any recollection of where they are. This worsens with disease progression to the point where it can become dangerous to leave your love one unattended for extensive periods of time. Forgetting what day it is occasionally is normal, but people suffering from Alzheimer’s will become completely unaware of time.
Vision Problems or Difficulty Determining Space
Driving becomes severely difficult when a person’s vision and sense of space is negatively affected by Alzheimer’s. Vision problems tend to occur with age and should be monitored regularly.
Impaired Speech or Writing
Holding verbal or written conversations becomes challenging. Sometimes the wrong words are used to describe an object, vocabulary is not as strong, and repetition occurs often.
A common step people follow when they lose something is retracing their steps in hopes of locating the lost item. However, a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will be unable to retrace their steps and may even accuse other people of stealing their lost items.
This often relates to decisions regarding finances and personal hygiene.
Socializing becomes more difficult, resulting in withdrawal from hobbies and social activities.
A person suffering from Alzheimer’s may become more confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, anxious, or easily upset with others.
There are three stages of Alzheimer’s: mild, moderate, and severe. It’s important to note how symptoms can often overlap making it more difficult to identify which stage is prevalent.
• Difficulty performing tasks in social/work settings, remembering names and/or words, and staying organized/planning
• Losing common objects often
• Forgetting material that was just read
• Forgetting personal history, significant events, personal information such as address, phone number, etc.
• Shift in sleep patterns
• Exhibiting compulsive behaviors and personality changes
• Withdrawing from social/work activities
• Difficulty controlling bladder
• Requiring assistance with daily functions such as getting dressed
• Loss of awareness
• Mobility is severely affected (e.g., walking, sitting, swallowing, talking, etc.)
• Requires 24/7 care
If your loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help immediately for a proper diagnosis. In the event the diagnosis is dementia, Alzheimer’s, or memory impairment, assisted living and memory care could be beneficial. Facilities equipped with 24/7 nursing care, individualized care plans, in-house Geriatricians, and plenty of cognitive stimulation through a 24/7 activities calendar will ensure peace and comfort for your loved one in a safe homelike environment.
Assisted living can be a difficult topic to discuss with family members, and we are here to help in any way possible. If you think your loved one could benefit from our memory care services or other care options, please contact us for more information. To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, please visit the Alzheimer’s Association at https://www.alz.org/