6 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is a truly devastating disease -- and it’s more prevalent than you may think. Over 5.5 million people live with Alzheimer's in the US alone. All too often, early warning signs are ignored and the disease progresses untreated.
Early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease can be easily overlooked. Sadly, development of the disease can be hidden in the early stages; some manifestations of Alzheimer’s aren't even memory-related. Simple things, like forgetting one’s engagements or losing interest in social outings, can be indicators of mental deterioration.
Here are six warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease:
1. Memory loss
Memory loss is one of the most common -- and most easily spotted -- symptoms. A decreased capacity to recall faces, names, places, and even the functions of everyday objects like keys are indicators that there might be something seriously wrong.
Everyone has bouts of forgetfulness, but if a loved one is consistently forgetting the unforgettable, like major life events and the names of their children, this may be cause for concern.
2. Inability to remember words or phrases
As we age, our ability to wield a razor sharp wit declines. It is well within the range of normal to occasionally lose one’s track of thought, to have difficult placing the right word, or to trail off in the middle of conversation, especially as we grow older.
With Alzheimer’s, these occasional slips become much more prevalent. In fact, brand new speech problems may arise suddenly. For example, they may refer to things by the wrong name, calling a wristwatch a “hand clock.” They may regularly forget the names of household objects or other common words as well.
3. Losing things frequently
People lose things all the time. People with dementia, however, often place things in odd or inappropriate places. They may leave a TV remote in the refrigerator, for example. They may find tracking down important items like purses, wallets and phones exceedingly difficult.
On top of this, their ability to reason will diminish, and they may not be able to find their things without the help of others. They lose things so frequently that they believe their possessions are being stolen, for example, as they are unable to find these objects even after conducting thorough searches.
4. Trouble with daily plans and schedules
Forgetting an engagement or failing to pay a bill on time is typical. Forgetting the days of the week is even expected as we age. Usually, our forgetfulness does not impede on our everyday functioning, however.
Failing to recall the month or year is far more troubling, and could be a sign of Alzheimer’s. This impairment, being unable to recall important plans, dates and schedules, makes it impossible to manage one’s personal affairs.
5. Poorer judgement
Dementia affects reasoning. This means a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s may make poor decisions, ones that are totally uncharacteristic of past decisions. While we all have lapses in judgement from time to time, those suffering from dementia are unable to manage their daily lives, finding it a struggle to make appropriate decisions.
They may be far more susceptible to scams and throwing money away carelessly. They may make confused or nonsensical remarks, or neglect self-care and personal hygiene entirely.
Depression takes many forms: a diminished interest in hobbies, social withdrawal, erratic sleeping patterns, and physical pain are just a few symptoms. A loved one may appear listless, staring blankly for long periods of time. A formerly social person may retreat into their home, refusing invitations from close friends and family.
If your loved one has never suffered from clinical depression before, but suffers from it in middle or old age, this may be a sign that they have Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, one study showed that those who developed clinical depression after the age of 50 were at a much higher risk for developing dementia.
Spotting early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is of the utmost importance. Although you may dread a diagnosis, treating the disease as early as possible guarantees the best outcome.
If you suspect a loved one may be developing Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, look for these six warning signs. If they are exhibiting a great deal of these behaviors, such as memory loss, trouble with everyday activities, losing things frequently, lapses in judgement, and social withdrawal, it may be time to seek testing and treatment.
Thoroughly researching the symptoms, causes and prognoses for the disease will greatly assist you as you look for ways to deal with a loved one’s onset of dementia. Seek out doctors and explore your options, such as placing your loved one in a senior care facility.