10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
The most common early sign of Alzheimer’s is memory loss that impacts daily activities.
10 Early Signs of Alzheimer's
As a senior ages, it’s important to keep an eye out for early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. If you notice one or more signs in yourself or a loved one, speak with a doctor for personalized treatment and recommendations. They might recommend memory exercises or suggest you look into memory care communities for later stages.
While a few memory lapses are just a normal part of aging, here are some of the common warning signs that elevate the situation and may, with medical verification, indicate the beginnings of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Difficulty with daily routine
The most common early sign of Alzheimer’s is memory loss that impacts daily activities. This typically shows when your loved one begins to struggle with their daily routine, needing an increasing reliance on reminders to get through the day.
- Forgetting something recently learned
- Asking the same information over and over
- Relying on memory aids or family for things you used to handle alone
Increased difficulty with familiar tasks
Forgetfulness is more than occasionally misplacing items and finding them shortly after. It can include forgetting important events, asking the same questions repeatedly and being unable to retrace steps. You might also find them repeating the same daily activity, such as brushing teeth twice within an hour.
- Trouble driving to once-familiar places
- Problems managing a budget at work
- Difficulty remembering rules of favorite game
Confusion of time and place
One of the more high-risk symptoms of Alzheimer’s is confusing the date, time and place. Your loved one might forget their current location, get lost during a walk around the neighborhood or forget to attend important appointments. If your loved one begins losing the way home, it’s time to intervene. They could wander away and seriously endanger themselves.
- Losing track of dates, seasons and passage of time
- Forgetting where one is or how one got there
Withdrawing from family and friends
For some families, a surprising sign of Alzheimer’s is withdrawal from social and professional events. They might lose interest in hobbies, family gatherings, and retreat into themselves.
- Withdrawing from hobbies, social activities, work projects, family gatherings
- Forgetting how to engage in a favorite hobby
- Avoiding social situations
Struggling to follow storylines, visual images and spatial relationships
Your loved one might have trouble following the plots of mainstream TV show or suffer the inability to follow a favorite sport. If a movie plot is complex with multiple layers, confusion might be normal. However, if the plot is simple enough for a general audience to understand, your loved one could be struggling with their memory. In related matters, is the senior struggling with any of these situations?...
- Diminishing ability to track visual surroundings
- Difficulty reading
- Trouble judging distance
- Problems determining color or contrast
Frequently misplacing things
If your loved one is misplacing things more frequently and struggles to retrace their steps, they could be losing memory. They might accuse others of stealing or purposely hiding away items. They might also forget the typical places they store belongings.
- Putting things in unusual places
- Having increasing difficulty retracing steps to locate a missing item
- Accusing others of stealing
Marked change in judgement
A dangerous symptom of Alzheimer’s is a decrease in judgement or risk assessment. Your loved one might fall victim to scams, stop grooming themselves or neglect pets. If they appear disheveled or take obvious risks, increase supervision or assistance.
- Changes in decision making and judgment Poor judgment with money
- Wearing clothes inappropriate for season
Challenges with solving problems
Alzheimer’s can affect a loved one’s ability to problem solve. They might struggle with the home budget, paying bills or caring for themselves. They might struggle preparing food or making plans. Some tasks are understandably difficult, such as new recipes and working around complex schedules. However, if your loved one is struggling with tasks easily completed in the past, look deeper:
- Problems developing or following a plan
- Working with numbers
- Following a familiar recipe
- Keeping track of bills
- Taking longer than usual for common tasks
Major changes in mood and personality
Many people note extreme mood swings with their loved ones before a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. If your loved one has never shown such emotional displays before, they could have memory loss. Alzheimer’s can trigger sudden moments of depression, confusion, irritation and fear. If your loved one has unexplained mood swings, contact your doctor. If your loved one doesn’t show other signs of Alzheimer’s, they might be manifesting another condition entirely.
- Increasingly displays of confusion, suspicion, fear, anxiety, agitation
New struggles with speaking
A notable sign of Alzheimer’s is trouble communicating. If your loved one can’t articulate their thoughts as well as they used to or can’t follow casual conversations, memory could be declining. They might leave sentences incomplete or change topics midway through a conversation.
- Problems following or joining a conversation
- Difficulty tracking conversations
- Trouble with vocabulary
Alzheimer’s Memory Care at MorningStar Senior Living
MorningStar Senior Living is dedicated to offering compassionate care by meeting each resident’s social, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. If you’re concerned about the possibility of dementia in a loved one, reach out to us for advice and perspective. Ask us about Lavender Sky, MorningStar’s studied philosophy and approach to dementia care and to better understand the benefits of memory care communities.