We all forget things every now and then, like where we placed our keys or what we had for lunch three days ago. However, it’s important not to write off the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease as just another case of forgetfulness. It isn’t uncommon for someone with Alzheimer’s to wander off, become lost and confused, and end up in a dangerous situation. By learning the first signs of Alzheimer’s, you can help your loved one receive treatment for the early symptoms and prevent a potentially life-threatening situation.
First Signs of Alzheimer’s
More Forgetful Than Usual
It’s normal to occasionally forget things. However, if you notice your loved one frequently struggling to remember recently learned information, consult with a doctor. Even the early stages of Alzheimer’s can pose a threat to safety. For example, forgetting something as simple as turning the oven off after dinner can put a person in harm’s way. To ensure their safety while maintaining independence, you may wish to explore the possibility of their joining a memory care community, which offers around-the-clock care while maximizing freedom and fun.
Trouble Completing Familiar Tasks
One of the first signs of Alzheimer’s is experiencing difficulty with household maintenance. Remembering to pay monthly bills, caring for a pet, or following a recipe can be a challenge during the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Simple cleaning tasks like doing the dishes or dusting might take longer as well. And memory loss doesn’t just impact household chores. Someone with Alzheimer’s might forget how to do other familiar tasks, like driving to work, playing a favorite board game, or applying makeup.
Losing Track of Time and Place
If your loved one frequently forgets the day of the week or what year it is, it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s-related memory loss. That said, when a person retires, it is often more difficult for them to remember the day of the week because their days are so similar. However, losing track of the days shouldn’t be a common occurrence. The same goes for remembering the year. Occasionally writing the wrong year is pretty normal (especially in January), but being off by a decade or two could be a sign of a cognitive issue. Another similar sign of Alzheimer’s is losing track of location. For example, your friend or relative might forget how to get home on a walk or wake up thinking they are in a past home.
Changes in Vision
Some people experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s might have difficulty reading or seeing while driving. This is because the disease can make it difficult for a person to judge distance and see contrast in color. This can also be caused by cataracts, which commonly form in a person’s later years. Visiting an eye doctor can help rule out cataracts if the true cause is related to Alzheimer’s.
Changes in Mood or Personality
Does your friend or loved one suddenly seem socially withdrawn or extra irritable? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, people with Alzheimer’s can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. Since going out with friends can put a person out of their comfort zone and into an unfamiliar situation, they might stop going out altogether.
At Waterstone on Augusta, we understand the critical importance of socialization for Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Our friendly, highly skilled staff works diligently to help combat the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia by engaging with residents through socialization, memory games, brain fitness exercises, and other activities. We also provide support services for family members. To learn more, contact us today.