Dominique Curtin, 2/5/2017
It can be hard to recognize changes in our loved one's behavior and personality because it can be difficult to acknowledge they may have underlying issues. If you are worried about Alzheimer's, this article will introduce you to the early signs of the disease, the changes to watch for in a parent or loved one, and discuss when it is no longer safe to leave them alone
Early Signs of Alzheimer's You Should be Noticing
Navigating the difficult path of Alzheimer’s care
- Minor forgetfulness: Did your loved one forget an important date or anniversary? Have they misplaced their keys? Are they having trouble remembering names? These are common memory problems, but they could fit into a larger pattern of memory loss that you should look out for.
- Keeping track of monthly bills: If your parent or loved one is forgetting bills and having to pay late fees, that could be a red flag for Alzheimer's related memory loss.
- Problems finishing routine tasks at home: Is your loved one having difficulties remembering the rules to her favorite game? Can she remember how to cook one of her favorite recipes?
- Confusion with time and place: Has your loved one asked you how they got to your house? Or, have they ever been confused on what day of the week/time of year it is? Confusion later in the day can be a symptom of Sundowner's syndrome.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: Vision impairments could often be attributed to Alzheimer’s for some. Also, they could have some trouble with distance – which could put them at risk for driving.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing: Are you finding your loved one is having difficulties joining or contributing to conversations with you? Are they repeating themselves or get lost in the middle of a sentence? That could be an indication something is not right.
- Losing things and being unable to retrace steps: Have you ever gone to your loved one's house and found keys in the refrigerator? Or, found a container of milk in the bathroom? People with Alzheimer’s tend lose the ability to track down something because they cannot retrace their steps. If you are noticing problems with your loved one wandering outside the house, it could be time to assess whether you need a caregiver to provide companionship.
- Decreased or poor judgment: Has your loved one started giving money to telemarketers out of the blue (when they were usually always very responsible with their money?) Are you finding that your loved is missing showers or bathing less frequently?
- Withdrawal from work or social activities: Are you finding that your loved one is no longer interested in hobbies (bingo, tennis, bridge club?) and finding excuses to not be social any longer? They could be embarrassed by their new Alzheimer's symptoms.
- Changes in mood or personalities: The mood and personalities of people with early signs of Alzheimer’s can change. When they are out of their comfort zone, it could cause stress, confusion and disorientation. Suspiciousness, fearfulness and anxiety are often other symptoms and cues to look for when assessing a loved one.
can be daunting, but being aware can help you maintain the best quality of life possible for your loved one.