Dementia comes with age, and memory loss that is bad enough to disrupt everyday life should be given proper attention. Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain and can cause a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative, progressive disease that will only get worse with time, which is why it is important to be on the lookout for signs.
The warning signs and symptoms to Alzheimer’s are different for everyone, and individuals have different experiences and combinations of these in varying degrees, so if you notice one or a few happening to you or your loved ones, it is better to call a doctor.
Here are some signs and symptoms to the disease that you should be in a lookout for, especially if you are a senior or are living with one.
10 Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms
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Memory loss disruptive to everyday life
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially recent information. This varies in different degrees—others forget important dates or events, others ask for the same information over and over again, while many increasingly need to rely on memory aids like reminder notes on paper or on the phone.
Sometimes, it becomes so bad that other members of the family will have to do things that Alzheimer’s patients used to be able to handle on their own.
The difference from a typical age-related change: most elders forget names or appointments sometimes, but they do remember them later on.
Planning and solving problems become challenging
People experiencing change in their ability to develop and follow a plan or even work with numbers could have Alzheimer’s. They may have trouble following familiar recipes or even tracking monthly bills. They may also have difficulty in concentrating and could take much longer to do things that they have done before.
The difference from a typical age-related change: elders make occasional errors when balancing a checkbook, but when they can’t even focus enough or figure out how to do so is a different story altogether.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or even for leisure
A lot of patients with Alzheimer’s find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, this is equivalent to having trouble driving to familiar locations or places that they’ve been going to on a regular basis. Sometimes, they also have to difficulty remembering the rules of their favorite games or managing work.
Being a degenerative disease, it could get worse from there; for instance, people who are in advance stages of the disease could even forget how to tie their shoelaces or even feed themselves.
The difference from a typical age-related change: occasionally needing help using settings on a microwave or recording a television show or things that they don’t usually do.
Confusion with time and place
Losing track of dates, seasons, and even the passage of time is something that Alzheimer’s patients can experience. They could also have trouble understanding something that is not immediately happening to them, and at times, they even forget where they are or how they got there.
The difference from a typical age-related change: getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later on.
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
Vision problems can be a sign of Alzheimer’s—they could have difficulty reading, judging distance, and even determining color or contrast, which pose as a problem for drivers or even for pedestrians on the road.
The difference from a typical age-related change: vision problems due to cataracts.
Problems with words, speaking, or writing
Alzheimer’s patients could have problems following or joining conversations. They may not know how to continue, or they feel that they have to repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems, or may find the right word or call things by the wrong name. This could become frustrating, especially when they feel that things are not moving at all.
The difference from a typical age-related change: having trouble finding the right word sometimes but not often.
Misplacing things, losing the ability to retrace steps
Person with Alzheimer’s disease tend to put things in unusual places and they could lose these things and be unable to trace back their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may even accuse others of stealing when this happens, and these things could occur more frequently as the disease progresses.
The difference from a typical age-related change: misplacing things from time to time but being able to retrace their steps to find them.
Decreased or poor judgment
Patients with Alzheimer’s may experience a change in judgment or decision making. For instance, they will have impaired judgment when it comes to dealing with money and will give large amounts to telemarketers or buy in to scams. Sometimes, the poor judgment is not limited on big events. However, it’s not limited to big decisions; sometimes, they tend to forget their daily rituals and forget to do some things like basic hygiene.
The difference from a typical age-related change: making bad decisions from time to time but not often enough for it to pose a problem in the long run.
Withdrawal from work or social activities
Alzheimer’s patients could start to remove themselves from their hobbies and social activities, like sports. They may have trouble keeping up with their favorite sports team or remembering how to complete their daily activities. Other times, they could also avoid social settings especially when they are getting uncomfortable with the changes that they have recently experienced.
The difference from a typical age-related change: being tired at work or weary of family and social obligations.
Mood and personality change
The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. From confused and suspicious, they can also be depressed or anxious. They may easily get upset at home, at work, or even with their family and friends, especially when they get out of their increasingly narrowing comfort zone.
The difference from a typical age-related change: becoming irritable when routine is disrupted.
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