Recognizing the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Whether you’re concerned about yourself or someone close to you, it’s critical to know the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is an illness that progressively and dramatically affects your cognitive behaviour. In it, and other types of dementia, neurons in the brain die or become damaged, causing broken connections between brain pathways.

While there’s no current cure for the disease, people living with Alzheimer’s can continue to live long and fulfilling lives if they get the right help at the right time. Read on to learn about the early symptoms of the disease and how you can get the help you need.

Life-Altering Memory Loss

Most people experience some level of memory loss as they age.  For example, do you sometimes misplace your car keys or find yourself forgetting the name of your neighbour’s new dog? You can’t expect to remember every little detail of your life at all times, so if you occasionally catch yourself forgetting little things, don’t be alarmed. It’s entirely natural.

However, if you notice continuing patterns in your memory loss that negatively affect your life, there may be cause for concern. Are you habitually forgetting recently learned information? Do you frequently forget important dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries? If any of this sounds familiar, talk to a doctor.

Difficulty Problem Solving

Is it challenging to solve fundamental, everyday problems? For example, is it difficult for you to understand the rules of a new card or board game — or another task that would typically be reasonably simple to understand?

Having difficulty solving problems could signify that you’re developing Alzheimer’s. As the disease progresses and brain cognition weakens, so does the ability to solve or understand everyday problems and issues. Visit the doctor if you’re concerned with your ability to problem solve.

Having Trouble Following Conversations

Another sign to watch out for is experiencing confusion during conversations. People with Alzheimer’s disease might have difficulty remembering words or feel disoriented by what’s happening around them. They may lose track of what has been said or forget that they’ve already said something and repeat words or phrases.

Often, people living with the disease will have difficulty finding the right word to explain what they’re trying to say. They may forget what an item is called, such as a watch, and use an overly descriptive term like “hand clock” instead.

Confusion Regarding Time and Place

People with Alzheimer’s will often suddenly feel confused about where (and when) they are and can lose track of place and time — from knowing the day of the week to remembering the current year. They can have a tough time understanding something if it’s not happening right away, and it can be challenging for those around them. They can also forget where they are and feel threatened by unfamiliar surroundings.

Changes in Mood

Just like feeling confused over location and time can happen suddenly and without warning, Alzheimer’s disease can also cause people to experience sudden and drastic mood and personality changes. For example, your husband, who is typically quiet and reserved, could start behaving unusually extroverted or become unusually fearful, anxious, or depressed.

Keep your eye out for personality and mood changes in yourself and others that concern you.

Trouble Planning or Completing Tasks

People with Alzheimer’s disease have difficulty planning and completing familiar tasks, such as driving or making a cup of tea. Such occurrences can happen anywhere — work, school, or at home. Most people will find some daily tasks difficult, familiar things.

Have you ever made a recipe that you’ve made before with lacklustre results? After you’ve made the meal and sat down to eat it, you realize you didn’t add enough salt or perhaps you used too much.

While forgetting to add the right amount of salt to a dish is natural, feeling overwhelmed and helpless as you read a recipe that you typically could make without any guidance is something else entirely. Or maybe your loved one has had a hard time finding their way to work in the morning, even though they’ve driven there every weekday morning for the last several years.

Do these situations resonate with you? If so, it might be time to seek help from trained dementia care professionals and caregivers.

What You Can Do to Help

If you’re worried about your or someone you love’s cognitive health, get to the doctor as quickly as possible to get a professional diagnosis. Your doctor will likely recommend at-home dementia care to provide assistance right in the comfort of home. Since the disease progresses, you’ll need support from professional dementia caregivers trained and experienced in the field.

Check out your local home healthcare agency options to see which organization offers compassionate healthcare to help you and your friends and family members.

Spotting Alzheimer’s disease early on is critical to your quality of life. While there’s currently no cure for the illness, taking the proper steps and getting the care you need will alleviate a great deal of pain and stress. Pay attention to these warning signs, and get the support you need.