Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, reasoning, and thinking skills. Here are eight Alzheimer’s symptoms to be on the lookout for.
1. Loss of Memory
One of the most common early Alzheimer’s symptoms is forgetting recently learned information. Other related signs include forgetting important events or dates and asking the same questions over and over.
Typical age-related change: Occasionally forgetting appointments or names but remembering them later.
2. Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
A sufferer may have trouble organizing a grocery list, following a familiar recipe, keeping track of monthly bills, remembering the rules of a favorite game, or driving to a familiar location. It becomes harder to concentrate, and it takes much longer to do normal tasks.
Typical age-related change: Making the occasional error when managing household finances.
3. Confusing Time or Place
Those living with Alzheimer’s can become confused about the passage of time and lose track of dates and the seasons. They may be challenged to understand something if it is not happening immediately, and they may forget where they are or how they got there.
Typical age-related change: Being a bit confused about what day it is (especially if you are retired), but figuring it out later.
4. Trouble With Spatial Relationships and Visual Images
Vision problems may be another Alzheimer’s symptom, resulting in difficulty with reading or balance. Other issues may involve problems with judging distances and determining contrast or color, causing hazards when driving.
Typical age-related change: Vision changes because of cataract problems.
5. Problems With Vocabulary
People with Alzheimer’s may be challenged to follow or join in a conversation. They may come to a dead halt in the middle of saying something and have no clue how to continue, or they may repeat what they’ve just said. They may struggle with words, be unable to name a familiar object, or use the wrong name (e.g., referring to a “watch” as a “hand-clock”).
Typical age-related change: Occasionally having trouble coming up with the right word but remembering it just before falling asleep.
6. Loss of the Ability to Retrace Steps
An individual with Alzheimer’s symptoms may put things in odd places and be unable to retrace their steps to find them. They may also resort to accusing others of stealing.
Typical age-related change: Misplacing things occasionally, but retracing steps to find them.
7. Decrease in Good Judgment
Individuals may be unable to exercise sound judgment (e.g., when dealing with money). They may also pay less attention to keeping themselves clean or well-groomed.
Typical age-related change: Occasionally making a bad decision, such as paying too much for something.
8. Changes in Personality and Mood
Typical Alzheimer’s symptoms are mood and personality changes. A person may become fearful, anxious, suspicious, confused, or depressed.
Typical age-related change: Developing a specific way of doing something and becoming irritable when the routine is disrupted.
Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Symptoms Matters
If you notice any of these signs of Alzheimer’s in your loved one, get medical attention ASAP. Early detection will enable you to explore treatments that may provide some relief and help your loved one maintain a level of independence longer.