10 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
The thought of memory loss and confusion as we, or a loved one, age can be scary and something we don’t want to think about. For most of us, a little memory loss means we have too much on our minds, we are busy, distracted or sometimes we just forget. However, for those of you who are starting to notice changes in a loved one or perhaps even in yourself more than sometimes, here are some clues that it could be a warning of something more serious.
The following list is compiled by the Alzheimer’s Association as common warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
One of the most common signs of early memory loss is forgetting recently learned information, forgetting important dates or events and having to ask for the same information over and over again.
- Challenges in planning or problem solving.
Some people may be unable to follow a plan or work with numbers. They may be unable to follow a familiar recipe or not be able to pay monthly bills.
- Difficulty completing tasks at home, work, or at leisure.
Sometimes someone may get lost driving to a familiar location, managing a budget, or remembering how to play a favorite game.
- Confusion with time or place.
Someone with Alzheimer’s may lose track of dates, what season it is, and even the passage of time. They may forget where they are or how they got there.
- Trouble understanding visual images.
Vision issues may arise. Some people may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color and contrast.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing.
During conversation, a person with Alzheimer’s may stop in the middle of a conversation and forget how to continue or know what they were talking about. They may struggle to find the right words or call things by the wrong name.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
They may put things in unusual places and be unable to retrace their steps to find the item. Sometimes they may accuse others of stealing, which can be more frequent over time.
- Decreased or poor judgement.
People with Alzheimer’s may use poor judgement when dealing with money, and be subject to financial abuse. They may pay less attention to their appearance and cleanliness.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
They may start to withdraw from social activities, hobbies, work projects or sports. They may not be able to keep up or feel they need to hide the fact that they are having problems.
- Changes in mood and personality.
People with Alzheimer’s can have mood changes and begin to feel suspicious, depressed, fearful and anxious. They may get easily upset because they are no longer in their comfort zone in social situations.
Often the first signs of an issue that I see in my work with clients is an
inability to manage medications. They may start forgetting how to make out a check, or forget to pay a bill. They lose interest in things they used to love. This is often because they can’t remember how. They forget how to bake cookies, cook a roast, or play a game they know. Often they don’t feel like reading because they can’t remember the last page they have already read. They lose track of how long it takes to get ready for an outing or the sequence of steps to even start. They don’t talk as much as they used to in a group for fear they will make a mistake or they are just unable to follow the conversation. They repeat stories from a long time ago because they can remember 40 or 50 years ago far more clearly than they can recall yesterday.
How do we know the difference between Alzheimer’s/dementia and typical age related memory loss?
We can all make a poor decision once in a while, but when that is repeated more and more often, it may mean something more. Just as we have
all forgotten to pay a bill, but when that happens every month, it is a problem. How often do we momentarily forget what day it is? I know I have, but then I remember later. But forgetting what season we are in, or the year, or a holiday is more serious.
We all forget the word we want to use or a name, but then it comes back to us later in the day. The person with dementia may never remember or have difficulty even having a conversation about something familiar.
We have all walked in to a room and forgotten what we came in for and then remembered 5 minutes later. We have all misplaced our keys. However, never remembering or never finding our keys is a warning sign.
If someone is forgetting entire experiences, and not recalling them later, it is likely time to seek some help from a doctor or your local chapter of The Alzheimer’s Association. There is a link on my webs