As our parents and loved ones age, we may notice signs of memory loss on occasion, which may cause us to wonder if Alzheimer’s is something that we should worry about. So how do we tell if memory loss is just a normal part of aging or if it is Alzheimer’s disease? There are ten early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and if you notice any of these in your loved one, it’s important to not ignore them and schedule an appointment with your loved one’s physician.
- Memory Loss that Disrupts Daily Life
It’s normal to forget things, especially as we age, but memory loss that persists and keeps your loved one is forgetting recently learned information, forgetting important dates and events, asking the same questions repeatedly, and the increasing need to rely on memory aids, such as notes, to remember things they normally do on their own. Also, your loved one may be prone to forgetting recent conversations, appointments, or where commonly used items are placed.
- Challenges with Planning or Problem-Solving
Some people who have Alzheimer’s disease are unable to develop and follow a plan or even work with numbers. This may include trouble following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. Your loved one might have difficulty concentrating or taking much longer to do things than they once did.
- Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
Alzheimer’s disease can affect your loved one’s ability to complete familiar tasks. They may find themselves struggling to do tasks they once did with ease. This may include struggling with cooking a familiar recipe, managing finances, driving to places they are familiar with, organizing a grocery list, or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
- Confusion with Time or Place
Alzheimer’s can cause people to lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. They can find themselves confused about the current day, month, or year. They can even be disoriented and confused about their location, forgetting where they are or how they got there.
- Trouble Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships
Vision changes aren’t uncommon for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Vision changes may lead to trouble with balance or with reading. This could also lead to difficulty judging distance, determining color or contrast, and it may cause difficulty driving.
- New Problems with Words
Those living with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty following conversations or joining them. They might stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue. They also may repeat themselves. Sometimes, they might struggle with vocabulary or have trouble naming a familiar object. Those with Alzheimer’s might call objects wrong names as well.
- Misplacing Things and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps
Someone living with Alzheimer’s might put things in unusual places. They also might lose an item and be unable to retrace their steps to find the lost item. It also isn’t uncommon for them to accuse others of stealing or hiding their belongings, especially as the disease progresses.
- Decreased or Poor Judgment
Alzheimer’s can cause changes in judgment or decision-making. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s, they may also be unable to assess risks. This can be particularly concerning when dealing with money. Also, this change in judgment and decision-making can cause your loved one to pay less attention to grooming and keeping themselves clean.
- Withdrawing from Work or Social Activities
Alzheimer’s can cause your loved one to have difficulty communicating. They may be unable to follow a conversation or even hold one. Because of this, it can cause them to withdraw from social activities, hobbies, work, or even relationships.
- Changes in Mood and Personality
Sometimes, our loved ones with Alzheimer’s will have mood and personality changes. It’s not unusual for them to become confused, irritable, suspicious, depressed, fearful, withdrawn, or even anxious. They can experience mood swings that are uncharacteristic for them, as well. It may also upset them easily when they are out of their comfort zone.
If your loved one has experienced any or all of these symptoms, contact their physician. If your loved one has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you need help taking care of them, we provide home care services and caregiving for elderly loved ones specializing in dementia care. Contact us and schedule an appointment for a free home care consultation.