Alzheimer’s is a degenerative neuropsychiatric disease that affects more than 5 million people across the United States. It is the most common type of dementia, which causes the loss of mental abilities that affect one’s daily life. It can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, but here are six early warning signs to look out for.
- Memory loss
Memory loss is one of the first symptoms you will notice. Some patients will frequently forget new information, while others will be unable to recall important dates, times, or events. They will likely repeat themselves and ask the same questions over and over. When it comes to Alzheimer’s care, patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s a necessity.
- Difficulty with planning or problem solving
Making plans and solving simple problems may become challenging for patients in the early stages of dementia. For instance, selecting the right groceries, following a recipe, or keeping track of monthly bills may become particularly difficult or take longer than it used to.
- Confusion about time
Some people, as the disease progresses, have difficulty understanding the concept of time. They may lose track of the date or time of day or struggle to conceive of future events.
- Problems with vision and spatial relationships
Beyond just losing their sight, patients with Alzheimer’s can also have difficulty judging distance or identifying color contrasts. This can become dangerous when driving or walking around a highly trafficked area.
- Inability to hold a conversation
Everyone forgets a word now and then, but people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia pause frequently while speaking, struggling to find the right words or to remember what they were talking about just moments before. They will have a hard time starting or joining a conversation and may repeat themselves often.
- Anti-social behavior
You may notice that your loved one is withdrawing from social situations as the dementia symptoms worsen, which may be because of embarrassment or anxiety as their communication abilities have changed.
Because the disease is currently incurable and extremely common, one in three seniors pass away with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Caring for someone with dementia can take its toll emotionally, mentally, and even physically. For your own well being and the best quality of life for your loved one, look into local assisted living facilities and Alzheimer’s care centers.