According to data from the Alzheimer’s Association, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 67 seconds. As a result, more than five million people are now affected by this disorder.
The Signs of Alzheimer’s
Certain signs of Alzheimer’s disease may be noticed long before the condition is ever diagnosed. Here are some things to look for in your loved one that might indicate he or she is afflicted.
- Memory loss. While some memory loss is normal as a person ages, forgetting recently-learned information is something you should be concerned with, as it is one of the most prevalent early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Misplacing items-Those with Alzheimer’s disease may frequently misplace things, and be unable to locate them, even after much searching. They may even accuse others of stealing because they believe they have left items somewhere they haven’t.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks that could previously be performed with ease. When this happens, family members may be unable to play games they previously enjoyed or have trouble remembering how to drive to familiar locations.
- Distorted visual images-This can result in a loved one having difficulty judging distances, which may lead to difficulty driving.
- Poor judgment, which may lead to making poor financial choices, including giving away large sums of money or falling for scams
- Withdrawal and depression that results in people being unwilling to participate in activities they previously enjoyed.
- Personality changes that typically involve someone becoming easily upset, anxious or fearful, even when in otherwise familiar settings. This change in personality is sometimes a contributing factor to social withdrawal as well.
- Changes in grooming or hygiene, as those with Alzheimer’s may forget to bathe or even be unable to dress themselves properly.
- Becoming confused as to what day of the week it is or even the month or year.
- Difficulty concentrating, which leads to ordinary tasks taking much longer than normal to complete.
- Problems communicating, which may result in them being unable to find the right word to complete a sentence. Individuals may also call things the wrong name or repeat the same stories over and over.
Determining the Severity
Nearly everyone experiences one or more of the above symptoms at least occasionally, so how do you know if these things are signs of Alzheimer’s disease or simply a normal part of aging? That will largely depend on the frequency and severity of symptoms, as those with Alzheimer’s tend to experience these signs more often. They may also interfere with daily living, making it impossible to remember important things such as doctor’s appointments or the need to take medication.
Occasionally experiencing a problem is not likely anything to worry about; however, when these signs are out of character for the person experiencing them, it could mean they are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. As soon as you begin noticing signs, keep track of them so you can determine if they are happening more often or becoming more severe as time goes on.
Take Action Early
If you notice several of these signs in your loved one, it’s important to take action early. This disease becomes progressively worse over time, and there is currently no cure for it. Even so, early diagnosis is important, as its progression can be slowed if caught early enough. An early diagnosis will also give you and your loved one more time to plan for the future, while he or she is still capable of making decisions. If your family member is showing signs of Alzheimer’s, please visit a doctor for a complete medical examination.
After that, contact us for help planning some of life’s most important details. In fact, contact us for our Alzheimer’s planning guide, prepared for Michigan seniors and their families affected by Alzheimer’s.