March 22, 2022
An estimated 6.2 million people over the age of 65 are living with Alzheimer’s disease. This debilitating condition has no cure and preventative methods aren’t very effective (though scientists are always researching new options).
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia. It causes a decline in memory and cognitive abilities, as well as severe mood changes. Once Alzheimer’s starts, there’s no way to stop it.
It’s important to notice the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease so you can get help yourself or a loved one before it gets too advanced. But what are those early signs?
We’re here to talk about it. Read on to learn the first signs of Alzheimer’s so you can prepare yourself.
Memory loss is the first and most common early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s one that continues to get worse as the disease progresses.
It’s normal for all people to struggle to remember past events from time to time. Sleep deprivation, stress, and anxiety can cloud our memories, being aware of the correct signs will help.
People with Alzheimer’s can forget important life events and information that they learned recently. They may forget important people in their lives. If you or a loved one tends to write things down to remember them, it’s a sign that Alzheimer’s might be starting.
Trouble With Problem Solving
Again, a small amount of cognitive decline is normal as you age. You should make every effort to keep yourself sharp by doing puzzles, playing games, and continuing to learn new things.
Things like recipes or basic directions become impossible to track or follow. You may need to break instructions down into smaller pieces to complete them.
If you or a loved one is struggling to solve simple problems and puzzles, it’s a potential sign of Alzheimer’s.
Losing a Sense of Direction
If you’ve always had a strong sense of direction, but you’re suddenly forgetting where you are or where you’re going, it’s a sign that something is amiss with your memory.
It’s normal to feel unsure of where you’re going or where you are when you’re in a new place or trying a new route, but you should be able to get around your own city and places that you’ve already been without relying on a GPS.
Forgetting What You’re Doing
Do you find yourself forgetting what you’re doing while you’re actively doing it? Do you enter a room or open a new tab on your computer without knowing why?
These things happen to people without dementia or Alzheimer’s disease all the time, but if it’s getting more frequent, it might be time to talk to your doctor, especially if it’s getting in the way of your day-to-day life and activities.
More severe symptoms may include feeling intense confusion when you forget what you’re doing or forgetting what you were doing immediately beforehand.
Trouble Finding Words and Conversation Problems
Everyone experiences “tip of the tongue syndrome” from time to time. You’ll forget a word that you know the meaning of and that you use often only for it to return to you hours later. If it’s occasional, it’s nothing to worry about.
Some medications, such as topiramate, can cause this problem. If you’re taking a new medication and you start to experience it, talk to a doctor about changing your medication before you worry about Alzheimer’s.
If it’s happening often and the words that you’re forgetting are common words that you use daily, it’s time to consider that you might be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s can also impact your conversations in other ways. You may find yourself stopping mid-sentence or losing track of simple conversations. People with Alzheimer’s often repeat themselves.
Lapses in Judgment
Everyone makes bad decisions, but people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s are more likely to make mistakes due to lapses in judgment.
For example, internet scammers prey on people who are experiencing cognitive decline. They’re more likely to make bad choices with money (like giving it to someone running an online scam).
They may do dangerous things, like drive when they know that they’re too drowsy to do so.
Significant Mood or Personality Changes
One of the lesser-known symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is significant mood swings and personality changes.
Alzheimer’s causes confusion. That confusion can lead to anger, intense anxiety, fear, and aggression. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia may lash out at loved ones.
If you or a loved one is withdrawing from friends and family members, it may be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
This has many potential causes. First, people with Alzheimer’s may find their condition embarrassing. The idea of trying to engage with others in social situations is scary if you know that you’re struggling to follow conversations.
They may feel agitated and unwilling to see friends and family members who they’re upset with (even if that agitation is irrational).
Catch the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease and Seek Help
If you start to notice several of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease in yourself or a loved one, it’s time to seek out medical attention. A medical professional can assess the situation and determine whether or not Alzheimer’s is a potential cause.
Alzheimer’s can make living alone difficult. Hiring an in-home caregiver can help. At Just Like Family Home Care, we can help you find the perfect caregiver for your situation through our referral service.
Contact us to set up a meeting today.
Please note that the above content is for informational and educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. If you experience any symptoms or have questions about a potential health issue, please contact your physician.