5 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is one of those age-related diseases that is a silent killer. You can go through your day-to-day and not even notice your loved one is struggling with the earliest signs of the disease, thinking it’s just another inevitable part of aging. Alzheimer’s goes way beyond forgetting your wallet at home or not remembering your neighbor’s birthday. In order to stay on top of providing the best possible care for your loved one, be on the lookout for these early warning signs of Alzheimer’s.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. The earliest signs of Alzheimer’s, and even the later signs and symptoms of the disease, vary from person to person. It’s important to recognize the difference between a common age-related memory change and the disease—for example, needing help to remember how to record a show on the TV compared to forgetting how you ended up in the supermarket.
- Disruption of daily life. The Alzheimer’s Association notes to look out for memory-related issues that are causing a disruption to the person’s normal schedule. This could be the constant use of memory aids, which the individual relies on in order to get through their day. For example, needing a loved one to call them each day to remind them to brush their teeth or the use of reminder notes placed on noticeable objects around the house reminding the person to feed the dog. Without these tools, the person would not be able to go about their day. Don’t mistake forgetting an appointment but remembering it later or leaving a note for yourself to buy more milk as an early warning sign! Remember, forgetfulness happens.
- Problem-solving conundrums. Was your loved a wiz at chess but now can barely remember how to play? Maybe it’s their award-winning chocolate chip cookie recipe that they can’t seem to remember. The Alzheimer’s Association notes that those struggling with the disease may have issues problem-solving or working with numbers. This may also manifest in the form of having issues concentrating or keeping track of important tasks and information.
- Time or place mishaps. You may notice that your loved one easily confuses the date, season, and even their location. Those struggling with the disease may only be able to understand something if it’s happening immediately, in the present. You may notice that those with Alzheimer’s suddenly do not recognize the street they are on or the store they’re in, not being able to recall how they ended up in that location.
- Misplacing items. Has your loved one started misplacing items or valuables? Maybe you have seen them start to store or hid things in unusual places. Those struggling with the disease find they cannot remember where they stored these items, causing them to become upset and may accuse others of stealing.
- Poor judgment. Be on the lookout for sudden changes in the person’s judgment. You may notice they pay less attention to their hygiene or how they choose to spend their money.
These are not all of the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s. Speak to a doctor if you suspect that a loved one is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms. Be sure to continue to research the disease and record what you’re noticing in your loved one. The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource for understanding Alzheimer’s and dementia and receiving help. They even offer a 24/7 helpline and information on local resources that can assist you and your situation.
The MetroCare of Springfield Caregivers in charge of our Adult Foster Care and Group Adult Foster Care programs have been trained to provide quality care to members struggling with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Our understanding and individualized approach to care allow families to feel at ease, knowing the proper time and attention is being given to their loved one. Learn more about our programs here.