Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating condition that affects the person diagnosed and their loved ones. This progressive disease erodes an individual’s cognitive abilities, memory, and ability to communicate, making it difficult for them to connect with the people and things they love, and can leave them feeling a myriad of unpleasant emotions, significantly impacting their overall quality of life.
It’s important to approach Alzheimer’s with compassion and understanding and to provide support for both the person affected and the people touched by the heartbreaking circumstances of this disease. This begins with understanding the warning signs and pursuing early detection when you suspect something is wrong.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behaviour. It is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for a decline in cognitive function severe enough to interfere with daily life. The disease usually develops slowly, and symptoms can be subtle at first, making it difficult to detect in the early stages.
It is important to familiarize yourself with the early signs so you can watch out for the symptoms, as early detection and diagnosis can provide individuals and their families with the opportunity to access treatments, support, and more time to make arrangements for the progression of the disease.
Disruptive Memory Loss
Alzheimer’s disease is known for its devastating impact on memory. One of the most prominent early signs of this condition is the inability to retain recently learned information. Individuals may also find themselves struggling to remember important dates, events, or even the names of loved ones.
As the disease progresses, it can become increasingly strenuous for the person to keep track of their daily life, and they may rely heavily on memory aids such as notes, electronic devices, or family members for things they used to do independently. This can be a disheartening experience for the person affected, as well as for their loved ones.
Inability to Plan or Problem Solve
As dementia sets in, individuals may start to notice changes in their cognitive abilities, particularly in regard to planning and problem-solving. They may have trouble developing and following a plan, whether it be following instructions or managing finances. They may struggle to focus and find that tasks that were once easy to complete now require more effort and energy.
Challenges With Daily Tasks
As Alzheimer’s begins to take hold, individuals may experience struggles with completing everyday tasks that were once routine. They may find it challenging to perform tasks such as driving to a location they have been to many times, organizing a grocery list, or remembering to complete daily chores. These difficulties can range from minor setbacks to major obstacles, depending on the severity of the condition.
Declining Spatial Awareness
Alzheimer’s can cause individuals to lose their sense of time and place, leading to confusion and disorientation. It’s not uncommon for people living with this condition to find themselves struggling to keep track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. They may have difficulty processing information that is not happening in the present moment and forget their whereabouts or how they got there.
Issues With Vision or Depth Perception
For certain individuals, the emergence of visual impairments may serve as an early indication of Alzheimer’s disease. These symptoms come in multiple forms, such as difficulty maintaining equilibrium or reading. Furthermore, they may have trouble determining distances and recognizing colours and contrasts, which can make operating a vehicle and other tasks daunting.
Holding conversations can become a struggle for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. In the early stages, a person may suddenly forget how to continue or begin repeating themselves. Even simple words may become hard to find, familiar objects may become hard to name, or they may use the wrong name, which can be frustrating and isolating.
A reoccurring theme with early Alzheimer’s diagnoses is the inability to find misplaced belongings. This occurrence often leads to the person accusing their loved ones of stealing because they cannot remember how to retrace their steps.
Alzheimer’s can affect one’s ability to make sound judgments and decisions. This may be displayed as consistently mismanaging finances or neglecting personal grooming. It can be difficult to watch a loved one struggle with these changes, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a personal failure. It’s a symptom of a disease that requires the guidance of an Alzheimer’s care professional.
Living with Alzheimer’s can affect one’s ability to hold or follow a conversation, leading to a withdrawal from hobbies, social activities, and even the things they once loved. Imagine not being able to keep up with the latest game of your favourite team or your favourite activity. It’s a difficult reality for those affected by Alzheimer’s and a notable early sign.
The shift in Mood or Personality
Have you noticed a shift in mood or personality in yourself or a loved one? This could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Personality changes can manifest in various ways, from fleeting times of agitation to losing interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Common behavioural adaptations include confusion, suspicion, fearfulness, depression and anxiety.
The Importance of Early Detection
It can be hard to know what to do when you or a loved one shows early signs of Alzheimer’s. You may feel uncertain or nervous about discussing these changes. However, it’s essential to remember that these are not just minor slip-ups; they are significant health concerns that need to be addressed and evaluated by a professional.
Don’t let fear hold you back from seeking help. Early detection of Alzheimer’s can help to slow the progression of the disease, help you learn more about the unique nature of this condition, and enable you to plan for the future. Ultimately, professional guidance is the key to a less tumultuous road ahead.
When a Loved One Is Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s
When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you may be plagued by uncertainty and fear. It’s important to remain calm and take the necessary steps to understand the complexities of Alzheimer’s.
To begin this journey, it’s important to reach out to professionals to better understand Alzheimer’s care and what it entails, and what you can expect from this disease over time. It’s also important to keep lines of communication open with your loved one to better understand their needs. Remember to be gentle with yourself and your loved ones during this time, as Alzheimer’s affects everyone involved.
Connect With the Alzheimer’s Care Professionals
With patience, understanding, and the right support, you can help your loved one live a fulfilling life despite the challenges ahead, and Placita In Home Care is here to help with Alzheimer’s care for your loved one and family. Contact our compassionate memory care professionals for a free consultation today to learn more about our Alzheimer’s and dementia care services and resources.