The Importance of an Early Diagnosis
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, cognition, language and behavior. It’s the most common form of dementia among seniors, with symptoms that worsen gradually over time. While there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease at this time, recent studies have shown that an early diagnosis is key to help slow or even stop the progression of the disease. Through proper treatment and therapies, common Alzheimer’s disease symptoms can be alleviated, ultimately leading to a longer, more independent lifestyle.
Early diagnosis also allows more time for planning for the future, empowering loved ones to make their own decisions about long-term care options. Ensuring the proper care and supportive services are provided improves quality of life for all those involved. This is why it’s vital to be able to recognize the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, so treatment and memory support can begin at once.
Common Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
It’s not unusual for older adults to experience what are commonly called “senior moments.” These are lapses of memory where shopping lists are forgotten at home, car keys go missing or reading glasses get misplaced. Mental glitches like these are regularly associated with aging and are generally not a cause for concern. However, when memory issues begin disrupting daily life, interfering with the ability to perform everyday tasks, it is time to seek professional medical advice.
Some Alzheimer’s risk factors are difficult to spot and may come along naturally with the aging process. These factors include advanced age itself, genetics and family history. Common health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels also play a role. However, certain signs of Alzheimer’s disease are outwardly visible and much easier to identify if you know what to look for. They include:
Memory Loss that Disrupts Daily Life
One of the most recognizable signs of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss that interferes with a previously active lifestyle. Everything from forgetting important dates and names, to missing appointments, forgetting to take medications and an inability to retain new information could all indicate something more serious than typical “senior moments.”
Trouble Solving Problems or Completing Tasks
Another warning sign of Alzheimer’s is difficulty solving problems or completing daily tasks, such as cooking a meal, balancing a checkbook or planning a weekend trip. Even playing a favorite card game can become difficult, as remembering all the rules may become challenging.
Changes in Normal Behavior or Mood
While it’s normal to sometimes feel down or out of sorts, someone with Alzheimer’s will experience rapid mood swings, often switching from being happy and content to anxious, angry, or sad for no apparent reason. Or, sudden changes in normal behavior like being suspicious of others, depressed, anxious or fearful could all be warning signs of Alzheimer’s.
Problems Communicating Effectively
Another common Alzheimer’s symptom is difficulty following along in a conversation or successfully expressing thoughts and feelings. This may include problems with writing, finding the right words to describe common objects or even calling people by the wrong names.
Exhibiting Confusion with Space and/or Time
Sometimes, those with Alzheimer’s might find familiar surroundings suddenly strange and insist they’ve never been there before. Space/time confusion associated with Alzheimer’s causes people to lose track of time, forget how to get to frequently visited places or even how they got from point A to point B. It’s also common to exhibit confusion over the day, month or current season.
Falling Victim to Senior Scams
Those with Alzheimer’s sometimes exhibit poor judgment, which leads to frivolous spending on unnecessary items or increased vulnerability to senior scam artists.
Withdrawing from Social Activities
Memory loss can cause people to avoid social situations altogether. Activities that were previously enjoyable, like watching sports of playing card games, become challenging when it’s difficult to remember the rules.
The sooner medical attention is provided after noticing these signs of Alzheimer’s disease, the better quality of life the individual will enjoy.
Compassionate Memory Support from Franciscan Ministries
Continue your loved one’s story with high quality memory care services from Franciscan Ministries’ senior living communities. Find specialized care and memory support in a secure, comfortable environment that promotes dignity and improves quality of life. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist in a healthy aging plan.