As we age, we begin to lose memory. It’s a natural progression of aging. However, in some cases, memory loss is a symptom of a more serious issue than simply forgetting where we placed our glasses.
The unfortunate fact is that sometimes memory loss is the beginning warning sign of Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. Ten early warning symptoms signal the possible onset of Alzheimer’s. Knowing what those are and acting on them by seeing a medical professional can help you get appropriate dementia care from the beginning.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Often, we use the terms Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia interchangeably. You can have dementia without an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. However, Alzheimer’s is a progressive form of dementia that starts by affecting memory and eventually limits the individual’s functioning in life. Parts of the brain controlling language, thought, and memory are affected by Alzheimer’s.
What Are the Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?
There are ten signs of the onset of Alzheimer’s. Pay attention to these signs and seek medical help if you experience or know someone who experiences even one of them.
- Extreme memory loss that hinders daily life—take particular notice if newly learned information is forgotten easily. Repeating questions, reliance on reminder tools that increases, and reliance on others to complete tasks they once did themselves are signs of extreme memory loss.
- Problem solving and planning becomes difficult—cooking with a recipe becomes a chore, maintaining finances is increasingly troublesome.
- Routine tasks become difficult—no longer remembering the route to the grocery store, deciding what groceries are needed, remembering how to play cards.
- Being confused about place or time—not knowing where they are or how they arrived, losing track of the passage of time.
- Trouble with spatial relationship (depth perception) and visual images—vision is often affected, making driving difficult
- New difficulty using words while speaking or writing—inability to follow a conversation, difficulty with vocabulary, using the wrong name for objects or people.
- Losing things with the inability to retrace steps to find them—putting objects in odd locations and not being able to remember where they’ve been or what they’ve done to be able to find them.
- Poor judgment or reduced decision-making skills—making bad decisions regarding money or self-care.
- Withdrawing from usual activities—embarrassment about memory gaps leads them to discard routine activities and stop seeing friends.
- Changing personality or mood—suddenly becoming upset when things feel uncomfortable or strange, sudden unexplained anger.
Dementia care is complex for everyone involved. Knowing the warning signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s can help you get the appropriate care beginning with the earliest stages of the disease.