Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an age-related disease affecting around five million people in the U.S. and more than 50 million worldwide. Currently, there is no treatment for Alzheimer's, and doctors are still researching the cause. While AD is most common in seniors aged 65 or above, almost five percent of people showing signs of early Alzheimer’s are in their forties.
Are you worried that you or a loved one might show signs of early Alzheimer's? We'll discuss some of the early signs you need to look out for and what you can do to prepare. Read on to learn more about early Alzheimer's.
10 Signs of early Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, which refers to loss of memory and mental abilities. Therefore, many signs of early Alzheimer’s are related to degenerative mental issues that affect daily life.
1. Loss of Memory
The most common sign of Alzheimer’s is loss of memory. If you or a loved one starts to forget stuff more frequently, or if your questions become repetitive after getting the answer several times, it might be a sign of early Alzheimer’s. While not a guarantee, loss of short-term memory is one of the most prominent signs seen in the early onset of Alzheimer's.
2. Loss of Vision
Since Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease, it can also affect other parts of the nervous system, most commonly the optic lobes responsible for vision. One of the signs of early Alzheimer’s is a loss of vision and having problems reading, determining colors, or judging distances.
3. Problem with Concentration
As the disease progresses, problems with daily problem-solving, critical thinking, and routine concentration-demanding tasks become difficult. If you notice that you or a loved one is facing difficulty doing something they would usually do well, such as driving or maintaining monthly bills, it might be one of the signs of early Alzheimer’s. Similarly, AD patients suffer from a lack of focus and would often not remember what they set out to do.
4. Problem with Language and Speech
Look for whether you or your loved one forgets common words or substitutes words that don't make sense in the context. Moreover, AD patients tend to derail and stop talking in the middle, as if losing their train of thought. Early AD patients also tend to indulge in repetitive discussions, forgetting whether they've discussed the topic with you.
5. Problems Comprehending Time and Location
One of the most significant signs of early Alzheimer’s is if you or your loved one loses track of dates or what day it is. While it seldom happens to almost anyone, AD patients show a frequency of forgetfulness when it comes to time. Moreover, they do not comprehend activities that are not going to take place in the recent future and often forget long-term plans.
Similarly, if you or a loved one has difficulty navigating familiar routes or does not remember how you got to where you are, it might be a sign of AD.
6. Misplacing or Difficulty Finding Items
If you are experiencing signs of early Alzheimer’s, you might find yourself constantly forgetting where you put an item, such as your mobile phone or car keys. Moreover, you might face problems retracing your steps and finding the misplaced item. More often than not, AD patients confuse losing items with theft, thinking that they can not find them because it was stolen.
7. Difficulty with Judgment
If you or your loved one is suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer's, you may experience a loss in your decision-making skills. It could most commonly lead to impaired judgment, making choices you usually would not make, or not thinking properly over any given concern.
8. Poor Hygiene
Earl onset AD patients do not concern much with personal hygiene, either because they forget to or because it does not seem imperative. You may experience a rapid decline in the frequency of showering or changing clothes.
9. Loss of Socialness
As AD progresses, you or your loved one might withdraw from socializing at the workplace or in your personal life. Moreover, you might experience a loss of interest in a hobby you enjoyed.
10. Changes in Mood and Personality
One of the most significant signs of early Alzheimer’s is when you or your loved one undergo a drastic personality change. You may experience rapid changes in your mood from one moment to the next. The most notable mood changes include anxiety, fear, and depression.
Who is Most at Risk of Early Onset Alzheimer’s?
The signs of early Alzheimer’s can indicate whether you or a loved one is suffering from the disease. However, you must also ensure whether you or your loved one falls in the at-risk category before worrying.
Alzheimer's is associated with advanced age. Therefore, more than 32% of people who have early-onset Alzheimer's are aged 85 or above. However, a significant portion of people who have early Alzheimer's also includes those aged around 40 to 50.
Another precursor of the disease is genetics. You might be at risk of developing Alzheimer’s if a parent, sibling, or close relative suffers from it. In the United States, almost 640,000 people suffer from signs of early Alzheimer’s. Moreover, early-onset Alzheimer's primarily affects African Americans and Native Americans.
Preparing for Alzheimer’s
If you notice that you or a loved one is showing multiple signs of early Alzheimer’s, you should first get a diagnosis. Once you have confirmed the prognosis, you must begin to prepare for Alzheimer's since there is no cure for the disease.
You and your family must plan with each other, your friends and family, and a medical team. Some of the key ways to prepare for Alzheimer’s include:
- Awareness: Learn more about what you or a loved one will go through as the disease progresses so you can plan accordingly.
- Finances: Find medication covered by your health insurance and learn about other bills you might have to pay. This may include safety equipment, at-home care, and other preventive measures.
- Power of Attorney: Once you are no longer able to make the decisions, whom do you want to make that decision on your behalf? These decisions include financial and legal actions. After you have decided, you must get it written on legal documents.
- Support: Alzheimer's can take a heavy toll on the people around you as they struggle to adjust effectively to your care needs. Therefore, you must consider getting support from a professional such as at-home care.
Get Professional Care and Support
If you experience signs of early Alzheimer’s, you must prepare accordingly. Interim Healthcare offers the most experienced and professional Alzheimer’s and dementia care throughout St. Louis and Jefferson County. Our professionals are trained and experienced in taking care of Alzheimer’s patients to the best possible standard and providing physical, emotional, and mental support.
Call us at (636) 717-9292 to schedule a no-obligation in-home care evaluation or fill out our form online.