Roughly 1.2 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. It is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide and places an enormous health burden on governments. Chances are that you or your loved ones may also be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The earlier Alzheimer’s disease is detected, the higher the chance that rehabilitation efforts will yield improvements. Thus, it is imperative to be able to spot some common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Importantly, you should be able to tell the difference between symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and normal age-related decline. With this knowledge, you can help your loved ones better.
Disruptive Memory Loss
Forgetting what you had yesterday for lunch is normal but for those with Alzheimer’s disease, their memory loss disrupts their normal lives. Examples would include forgetting key dates and appointments they would have otherwise remembered and asking the same questions over and over again. The latter happens because recently acquired information becomes harder to recollect. You may have noticed that your loved ones are increasingly turning to external memory aids such as post-it notes or phone reminders.
Inability to Complete Familiar Tasks
A common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is the inability to complete tasks that could be done previously with ease. If your loved one forgets how to make their signature dish or is unable to partake in their favorite hobby, you might want to check in with them. Occasionally needing help with a kitchen apparatus or newer technology is most likely an age-related change.
Confusing Time and Place
Alzheimer’s disease patients experience a lot of disorientation and especially concerning time and place. You may notice that your loved ones get lost in familiar surroundings or suddenly believe themselves to be twenty years younger, for example. Thinking that it’s Monday instead of Thursday once in a while may not be indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.
Difficulties with Vision
It is true that with age vision gets weaker and weaker, particularly peripheral vision, i.e., what you can see from the corner of your eye. Cataracts are also another common age-related eye issue. In Alzheimer’s disease, changes are more profound. Difficulties arise with judging distance and visualizing contrast. This could cause issues with driving or reading a map.
Have you noticed that your loved ones are can’t participate in conversations the way that they used to? Perhaps they were once the wisecracker but are now unexpectedly stopping in the middle of a conversation. Another thing to watch out for is not remembering the names of common household objects, like calling a kettle a hot water bottle.
Mood and Personality Changes
There are a number of underlying causes for shifts in mood and personality. Your loved ones may be experiencing declining health or could be close to retirement. Such life changes are bound to bring up mixed feelings. However, for Alzheimer’s disease patients, mood and personality changes are more startling, occurring in a shorter time frame. Do keep in mind that not all those with mood changes are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease.