An estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s disease, which is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder that affects memory, behavior, and cognitive abilities. Recognizing the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease can help get an early diagnosis, which in turn provides a better chance of benefitting from treatments. Here are some early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Significant Memory Loss
Forgetting a small detail every now and then is perfectly normal. However, someone with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease might start to forget details more and more. They can also find themselves forgetting information that they just have learned more often. Some signs of memory loss include being unable to follow conversations, having difficulty with remembering people (even loved ones), and forgetting important details, such as a home address. If you notice this happening more often with your loved one, it is a good idea to see your doctor.
A person with Alzheimer’s disease might become embarrassed when they begin to notice their memory problems. They might have difficulties following conversations and might become increasingly suspicious of others. All of these can cause them to withdraw from social settings. This can worsen as the disease progresses. If you notice your loved one is avoiding gatherings with friends or other social activities that they used to enjoy, this could be a warning sign.
Difficulty with Daily Tasks
For a person with Alzheimer’s, routine tasks may become more challenging as the disease develops. More challenging tasks such as creating a budget or planning a large dinner may be the first types of tasks you notice your loved one struggling with. You may then notice that, as the disease progresses, they begin to have difficulties with simpler tasks as well, such as going to the grocery store. Your loved one might then avoid these tasks altogether. For example, you may notice that food is going bad in the fridge since your loved one now cannot make a grocery list or head down to the store.
Changes in Personality
Those with Alzheimer’s disease can go through intense personality shifts within just a short period of time. As the disease progresses and symptoms worsen, their fear and anger can cause mood swings and personality changes. This occurs most frequently when the individual is removed from their regular routine and environments in which they are comfortable. In new, alien situations, their moods can change drastically—they can become confused, suspicious, fearful, and withdrawn.
Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease
This list of warning signs for Alzheimer’s disease is by no means complete. More early signs of Alzheimer’s can be found on the National Institute of Aging page. If you are concerned that your loved one might be developing these signs, it is crucial that you speak to a doctor immediately. At Seaton Hagerstown, we understand the complex difficulties that aging can bring. Our Memory Care program provides dedicated and exceptional care for the elderly with memory-related diagnoses. Reach out to us today.