Alzheimer's & Dementia

How To Spot The Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s

It’s normal to forget things every once in a while, especially as we get older. But at what point does forgetfulness become a cause for concern? If you’re experiencing memory loss that’s affecting your daily life—such as forgetting important appointments or getting lost while driving—it could be an underlying sign of something more serious, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Learn how to spot the early signs of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s the most common form of dementia, which causes memory loss and other cognitive problems severe enough to interfere with daily life.

However, early detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease can help slow its progression and improve an individual’s quality of life. In this blog, we will discuss the early signs of Alzheimer’s and provide guidance on how to recognize them.

 

Early signs of Alzheimer’s include:

Memory Loss

Most of the time, when people think of dementia or Alzheimer’s memory loss is one of the first things that comes to mind, and for good reason too. Memory loss is one of the most common, early signs of Alzheimer’s. This may manifest itself as forgetting recently learned information, recent conversations, or even the names of familiar people or objects.

People with Alzheimer’s have difficulty remembering things that happened in the recent past, and they may ask questions repeatedly because they cannot remember the answer. They may also use memory aids like notes or reminders to help them remember things.

If you’re not sure how bad a loved one’s memory is becoming, take note of how often they forget things and how often they ask you to repeat yourself. If it seems like their memory has gotten worse over time, it may be time for them to see a doctor.

Confusion with Time & Place

People with Alzheimer’s may get confused about the time of day or the day of the week. They may also forget where they are or how they got there.

While this may seem harmless at first glance, it can lead to dangerous circumstances. For example, if your loved one is driving or walking alone and doesn’t know where they are or where they’re headed—this could be especially dangerous.

If you notice that your loved one is having frequent trouble remembering where they are or how long ago something happened, it’s important to talk to them about it and make sure they’re safe. While you are waiting for the doctor’s results, it may be a good idea to keep an eye on your loved one so they don’t wander off or become lost.

How to Spot the Early Signs of Alzheimer's

Often Misplacing Items

Another common symptom of Alzheimer’s is misplacing items. This can be especially frustrating for your loved one, as they may not remember where they put something or how long ago it happened.

Not only do people with dementia frequently misplace things, but they may also put items in odd places. Many families have reported loved ones putting keys in the fridge or wallets in the oven—sometimes even shoes in the freezer!

If this is the experience you’re having with your loved one, and you seem to be finding items in the most peculiar of spots, you may want to consider talking to their doctor about the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease.

Social Withdrawal

As people age, it is common for them to slow down and pull back from social obligations and other involvement—especially if they have had a demanding career or busy life. However, if social withdrawal is dramatic, such as someone who was always active and engaged in a hobby but suddenly becomes reclusive, this could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.

This may be a result of several things, such as the individual recognizing that they are not as comfortable in public situations due to changes in their brain chemistry, or it could even be an attempt to avoid embarrassment.

Regardless of the reason, it is important to check in on your senior loved one and ask them about their social life and hobbies. How often are they going out? How often are they engaging with other people? Are they still participating in activities that they enjoy? These are all questions that can help you identify the early signs of Alzheimer’s.

Difficulty with Planning and Problem-Solving

Due to the changes in their brain chemistry, seniors with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty planning and problem-solving. They may struggle to figure out how to get from point A to point B, or they may have trouble with simple tasks such as making a grocery list or cooking dinner.

For those with Alzheimer’s, multi-step instructions can become extremely difficult to follow, or completing familiar tasks, such as cooking or managing finances are a challenge.

If you suspect a loved one has trouble problem-solving, try to take things a little slower with them, or gently help them along the way.

How to Spot the Early Signs of Alzheimer's

Changes in Communication

Alzheimer’s disease can also affect an individual’s ability to communicate effectively, including both speaking and writing.

When a senior has Alzheimer’s, oftentimes, families see their loved ones having difficulty finding the right words, struggling to participate in conversations, or repeating themselves frequently. When families receive texts or other written communications from their loved one, they often find that the messages are repeated multiple times or written in a way that is difficult to understand.

Overall, communication can be a challenge for those with Alzheimer’s, and it’s important for families to be patient and understanding. They should also be prepared for the fact that their loved one may not be able to communicate as effectively as they once did.

Changes in Mood or Personality

Individuals with Alzheimer’s may exhibit mood swings or changes in personality.

Of course, we all have our ups and downs. It’s normal for someone to feel upset one day and be perfectly fine the next—this happens all the time. But what’s not normal is when a senior loved one’s mood or personality constantly changes, especially if their moods always seem to quickly swing into negativity. This can be a sign that something is wrong and needs to be checked out.

If you notice that your loved one is acting differently than they used to, it’s important to take note of this and talk with them about it. They may become withdrawn, anxious, depressed, or suspicious and not even realize it. Your loved one may not even recognize how their behavior has changed, so it’s important to gently help them understand what’s going on.

 

Learning how to spot the early signs of Alzheimer’s for early detection and intervention are essential in treating Alzheimer’s disease effectively.

Understanding the early signs of Alzheimer’s can help individuals and their loved ones recognize when they need to seek medical attention.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these signs, consult with a doctor or healthcare professional for a proper assessment and diagnosis. Remember, early treatment can help individuals manage symptoms and maintain their independence for as long as possible.

If you need additional information, or help caring for a loved one in need, Home Care Assistance of Dayton can help. Our high-caliber caregivers are specially trained to help with Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and we offer a wide range of home care services to help you and your loved ones live in the comfort of home as long as possible.

Need In Home Care for Your Love One?

Home Care Assistance of Dayton can help you or a loved one today.

Contact us now for a complimentary in-home or virtual assessment.

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