"Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that results in the deterioration of cognitive functioning. Since it is a progressive disease, it gets worse over time, making early detection essential in managing it. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are treatments that help slow down the progression of symptoms. If you believe that your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, you should keep an eye out for the following early signs and symptoms.

Memory Loss That Affects Daily Life

Everyone forgets things once in a while. However, in Alzheimer’s disease, this happens frequently. While long-term memory loss appears later, one of the early signs of Alzheimer’s is short-term memory loss. For example, while someone may remember their wedding day, they may not remember what they ate for breakfast earlier the same day.

This constant forgetfulness can result in overreliance on aids like notes, alarms, and the help of family members. It can also involve asking for the same information over and over, and forgetting recently learnt information, such as a new friend’s name.

Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks

This is when Alzheimer’s affects daily functioning. While it is normal to need help with certain things, such as building furniture, those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease find it difficult to complete tasks that they are familiar with, such as issues with tying shoelaces, or forgetting the route to get to their job.

A great example is using a tablet. The elderly often have trouble with technology, and it’s normal for your loved one to be confused before getting the hang of it. However, if they have been using their iPad for years and now can’t remember how to open an app, this is troublesome.

Losing Track of Time, Dates, and Location

One early sign that your loved one may have Alzheimer’s is them not understanding anything that isn’t happening in the moment. Not only can they lose track of time or what month it is, they can also find themselves in situations where they don’t remember where they are or how they got there. For example, they may suddenly find themselves at a friend’s house but not remember going there. They may even forget where they are, which leads to panic and anxiety. 

Difficulty Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships

Examples of this include not being able to judge distances and how far things are, not being able to tell the difference between colors, or even throwing a ball properly to someone else. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s may also drop things and even frequently lose balance and fall. In fact, research has shown a link between Alzheimer’s disease and frequent falling. When the disease progresses, this may even result in patients failing to recognize their own reflections.

Misplacing Objects and an Inability to Retrace Steps

This doesn’t just include misplacing keys and other objects – it can also include putting things in strange places, such as putting your keys in the fridge, or your hairbrush in the oven. Additionally, those suffering from Alzheimer’s have difficulty retracing their steps, and so cannot find the misplaced items. Because they cannot find their belongings, they may accuse people of stealing.

Impaired Planning and Problem-Solving Skills

Another early sign of Alzheimer’s disease is difficulty in planning and problem-solving. Someone suffering from the condition may not be able to pay their monthly bills, create a budget, or even follow a recipe they make frequently. They may also take much longer than usual to complete tasks because they find it difficult to concentrate.

Forgetting the Functions of Items

While it’s normal to forget where you put the French press, those with Alzheimer’s disease may forget what a French press is even for. Similarly, you can misplace a lock, but forgetting what the function of a lock may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Language Issues

Alzheimer’s patients often have trouble with language and may not be able to communicate effectively. They can often forget words and replace them with other names. An example of this is saying “time teller” or “the clock on the hand” instead of using the word “watch.”
They also find it difficult to follow and participate in conversations and may repeat themselves or simply stop talking in the middle of a sentence because they don’t know what to say. It can also be difficult for them to follow complicated plots in movies and TV shows.

Withdrawal from Social and Work Events

Not only does this include isolation, but it also involves loss of motivation and abandoning hobbies that the person previously enjoyed. Avoiding work and social gatherings increases as symptoms progress. Because they’re unable to hold conversations, those suffering from Alzheimer’s may just decide to stay at home. Being unable to follow a soccer game, they may opt to stop watching it.
This can result from both, feeling self-conscious about their inability to do certain things or from having trouble partaking in and keeping up with activities.

Mood and Personality Changes

As previously mentioned, Alzheimer’s patients often accuse others of stealing and become suspicious. However, this isn’t the only change seen in them. They can also get upset easily, be anxious and depressed. They can be confused because they are unable to keep up with things and can get irritated if their routines are disrupted. Personality can also be affected – someone who has always been an extrovert may isolate themselves and refuse to meet family and friends.

Poor Judgement and Decision Making

Everyone makes bad decisions once in a while, but Alzheimer’s patients fall victim to scams and con artists and may spend their money unwisely. They can also dress for the wrong weather, such as opting for a skirt when going out in a snowstorm.
This can also result in not maintaining proper hygiene. They may bathe infrequently, wear the same clothes for weeks, and neglect cleaning.
If you notice these changes in your loved one, they may be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In this case, it is essential to get an early diagnosis and begin managing the symptoms. Because Alzheimer’s patients need help with daily tasks, they often require special care. Fortunately, Interim Healthcare provides dementia and Alzheimer’s care.

We understand that you need to be able to trust the Alzheimer’s caregivers tending to your loved one – rest assured that Interim Healthcare thoroughly vets all staff and we treat your family as if it’s our own. If you’re interested in home care for Alzheimer's, contact us and schedule an in-home care evaluation – call us at (636) 717-9292, or simply fill out the contact form here.


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