Every November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a time to make the general public more aware of this crippling disease and the care options that are available. Alzheimer’s currently affects more than 5 million Americans, or 1 in 10 people over the age of 65. With these statistics, it’s likely that most of us will have some experience with this disease at some point in our lives.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are some medications and management strategies that can improve or delay symptoms. These strategies can have a greater impact when implemented early in the disease, which is why early detection is crucial. Below are six beginning Alzheimer’s signs to be aware of.
1. Short-term Memory Loss
One of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s is short-term memory loss. You may notice your loved one forgetting recently learned information or asking the same questions over and over. They may also forget how to do things they would normally handle on their own.
2. Difficulty with Daily Tasks
Having Alzheimer’s makes it difficult to complete daily tasks. Your loved one may have trouble preparing meals, grocery shopping or driving to a doctor’s appointment. Usually, it’s tasks with multiple steps that tend to be hardest for people.
3. Social Withdrawal
Due to the changes that people go through with Alzheimer’s, they often withdraw from social interactions. It’s difficult to hold or follow a conversation, so your loved one will probably feel most comfortable being alone.
4. Lapses in Judgement
People with Alzheimer’s often struggle to make good decisions due to the changes happening in their brains. They may spend their money on things they don’t need or neglect their personal care, such as showering daily or not brushing their teeth.
5. Mood or Personality Changes
Mood and personality changes are common with Alzheimer’s because people often feel lost when they’re with others. This causes them to be more confused, anxious and suspicious. You might find that your loved one is especially nervous when they’re out of their comfort zone.
6. Trouble Planning or Problem Solving
Lastly, Alzheimer’s makes it difficult to create or follow a plan. Some things that families tend to notice with their loved ones are trouble following directions or keeping track of finances. Your loved one may also have a hard time building a healthy schedule that involves hobbies, activities and socialization.
Early Detection is Key
No one wants to hear a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but the sooner a loved one is aware, the better. With this diagnosis, your loved one can start a treatment program that keeps them living independently longer, as well as improves their quality of life.