10 Early Signs & Symptoms of Alzheimers
Alzheimer’s disease is the gradual loss of memory and decrease of cognitive skills, such as thinking and reasoning. There is not a cure, but if caught early enough, there are things that can be done to slow the process down. Recognizing the signs is the first step!
The following information comes from alz.org:
1- Memory Loss that disrupts daily life
2- Challenges in planning or solving problems
3- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure.
4- Confusion with time or place
5- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6- New problems with words in speaking or writing
7- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8- Decreased or poor judgement
9- Withdrawal from work or social activities
10- Changes in mood and personality
Let’s dig a little deeper- The most common sign is memory loss, forgetting recently learned information. Perhaps you notice them forgetting important dates, repeatedly asking for the same information, and depending on family for things they would generally do themselves.
With problem solving, a general problem is the inability to keep track of monthly bills, follow simple steps, or taking longer to do something they normally do.
Confusion is a common sign as well. Easy tasks become difficult such as driving to the grocery store, remembering names or rules to a game. There may be times that they lose track of dates, seasons, or how much time has passed. They may find themselves confused at where they are and wonder how they got there. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following a conversation. They may repeat themselves or stop in the middle of a sentence, as well as having trouble finding the right word for something. For some, vision problems may occur. Reading may become difficult, judging distance, or problems with driving. A person with Alzheimer’s may also put things in unusual places. They will lose things and not have the ability to retrace their steps, or perhaps even accuse someone of stealing the lost item! They may lose interest in social activities they once enjoyed, hobbies, work, or projects. They may also have mood or personality change. They may be confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. They may become upset easily when out of their comfort zone.
You may wonder, how do I know if it’s Alzheimer’s, or normal age-related symptoms. Here are a few tips also suggested from alz.org:
Forgetfulness can be common in aging, but it’s not a persistent occurrence. Forgetting about an appointment or name, but then remembering it later is a more common age-related symptom. Making an occasional error in balancing the checkbook is normal. Completely forgetting how to do it is not. A person may forget what day of the week it is, but then remember later opposed to completely not knowing what day or time it is and it not coming back to them. Sometimes a person may forget the right word, but a more common mistake in Alzheimer’s is calling a very common item by the wrong name. An aging person may have trouble finding their keys, but will retrace their steps to be able to find them. As people get older, they may feel weary from work or family gatherings, but not lose complete interest in their hobbies as someone with Alzheimer’s would. A typical symptom could be becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted, but someone with Alzheimer’s will be more confused, depressed, or fearful often.
Finding out a parent has dementia or Alzheimer’s is a scary thought for all of us. However, being aware of symptoms and taking action can help slow the process and manage symptoms better.