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Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

December 12, 2016 - partners

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Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and the fifth leading cause of death for those 65 and older. This progressive form of dementia affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It worsens over time and interferes with an individual’s ability to complete daily tasks. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.4 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, and it is estimated that by 2050 16 million Americans will have the disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month serves to educate society on this tragic disease, raise funds for research, and reinforce the importance of improving detection and treatment. Additionally, it emphasizes the necessity of finding a cure and honors the lives of the millions affected by the disease. Caregivers and loved ones of the elderly should familiarize themselves with the early signs of Alzheimer’s to ensure proper care.

Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

If any of the following symptoms are present, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual has Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s important for them to see a doctor. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, early signs of Alzheimer’s include:

Memory Loss that Affects Daily Life
Forgetting recently acquired information is a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Those with Alzheimer’s don’t exhibit a sense of recall. Other signs of memory loss include forgetting important dates and appointments as well as asking for the same details continuously.

Planning and Problem Solving Difficulties
Individuals with Alzheimer’s continuously exhibit problems with making and following plans, working with numbers, following simple instructions such as recipes and concentrating. It may also take longer for them to complete certain things than it did in the past.

Problems Completing Familiar Tasks
Alzheimer’s disease can disrupt a person’s ability to complete daily tasks. Forgetting driving routes that they have used regularly, tasks they frequently do at work, or anything else that has been a consistent part of their life is common.

Confusion Over Time and Place
People with Alzheimer’s disease often have memory lapses and lose track of time. They may forget where they are or why they’re there. Confusion over dates, time, and even seasons is common.

Problems with Visual Images and Spatial Relationships
Vision changes not related to cataracts can be a sign of Alzheimer’s. The individual may have problems with reading, differentiating colors, and depth perception.

Sudden Difficulty with Words
The recent onset of difficulties with words when talking or writing is another sign. The individual might call things by the wrong name; have trouble remembering words; stop mid-conversation; forget how to continue; or repeat themselves frequently.

Losing Things with the Inability to Retrace Their Steps
Those with Alzheimer’s disease often misplace items and put them in unusual places. However, they don’t have the ability to retrace their steps.

Poor Judgment
Alzheimer’s can cause a decline in judgment and decision-making skills. Behaviors such as giving important possessions away, making inappropriate decisions with money, and developing poor grooming and hygiene habits are signs of the disease.

Isolating
Even the most social individuals may start to withdraw from work and social activities. They may refuse to be social because of embarrassment by the changes they are experiencing. On the other hand, they may forget the steps involved in their favorite hobbies. This can cause a slow withdrawal from things that were enjoyable to the person in the past.

Personality and Mood Changes
People with Alzheimer’s may start to exhibit signs of depression, anger, paranoia, anxiety, confusion, and fear. When out of their comfort zone these changes can be even more pronounced.

If you or someone you love is living with or showing signs of Alzheimer’s, it is important to know what to expect as the condition progresses. Contact a Partnership For Health HealthCare office to learn more about how we can provide you and your loved one with the support necessary to cope with the sometimes-overwhelming struggles of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

This information is not meant as a substitute for professional, medical, or nutritional advice and consultation. When differences exist between the information here and information given to you by your healthcare provider(s), you should follow the advice of your healthcare provider(s). Any additional information or clarification needed should be sought from the Physician, Practitioner, Speech Pathologist, or Nutritionist who is familiar with the individual’s health and medical conditions.

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