A Supportive Podcast for those Dealing with a loved one with Memory Loss

A Supportive Podcast for those Dealing with a loved one with Memory Loss

Bonus Ep. 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Early Signs & Symptoms of Alzheimer's
What are some of the early signs & symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

 

People frequently joke that a forgetful moment must mean they’re showing early signs & symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Sometimes these “jokes” disguise genuine concerns. What exactly are the early signs & symptoms of Alzheimer’s?

In case you need it, you can get more information from the Alzheimer’s Association. Their website is chock full of fantastic information.

Memory loss that disrupts daily life

If someone is forgetting recently learned information you should probably pay attention. When forgetfulness becomes obvious you may be looking at an early sign of Alzheimer’s.  This is especially true in the earliest stages of the disease. Forgetting important dates and events, or asking for the same information over and over are causes for concern.  Increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) is definitely a sign. Also, relying on family members for things they used to handle on their own also should not be ignored.

What’s a typical age-related change?
A common memory issue is sometimes forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later. Being unable to remember them later is the concerning factor.

Challenges in planning or solving problems

Developing and following a plan or working with numbers might become problematic. Having trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills is also not uncommon in the early stages. Having difficulty concentrating and taking much longer to do things should warrant some investigation.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook isn’t something to worry too much about. If you’ve struggled with something all your life and haven’t changed, you’re probably okay not to worry.

 

Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure

Having difficulty completing daily tasks is a common early warning sign. Following a routine set of steps can become confusing. Even normal things like making a sandwich become more than they can handle. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering the rules of a favorite game. If these are new occurrences, you should see a doctor.

What’s a typical age-related change?

If you occasionally need help using new technology or an unfamiliar appliance you probably don’t need to worry.

Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

Having vision problems can be a sign of Alzheimer’s. Difficulty reading, judging distance, and determining color or contrast may cause problems with driving. If you’re noticing new dings and scratches on the car or they’ve been in a few “fender benders” you have reason to be concerned. Scheduling an eye exam may help rule out a normal change in vision. However, if new glasses don’t seem to solve the problem you should consult a neurologist.

What’s a typical age-related change?

Granted that vision changes related to cataracts or macular degeneration may be the cause of many of these struggles should calm any fears.

New problems with words in speaking or writing

When following or joining a conversation becomes difficult you may naturally worry. Processing conversation becomes more difficult if someone is suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Stopping in the middle of a conversation and having no idea how to continue is common. They may repeat themselves frequently. Struggling with vocabulary, having problems finding the right word, or calling things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”) are not unusual. All of these are early warning signs and should be examined.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word or losing your train of thought.

Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

Finding things in unusual places is a common warning sign. Losing things and being unable to go back over their steps to find them again also isn’t unusual. You may find milk in the cupboard or keys in the freezer. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing or hiding their belongings.  This may occur more frequently over time. It’s easy to dismiss some of these signs early on but if they happen frequently they should not be ignored.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Misplacing things from time to time and retracing their steps to find them.

Decreased or poor judgment

Changes in judgment or decision-making and refusing to allow others to help manage finances or health care are typical issues. They may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers or friends and they may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Making a bad decision once in a while.

Withdrawal from work or social activities

Removing themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports is concerning. They may be having trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They also may avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced but are reluctant to admit.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes feeling weary of work, family, and social obligations.

Changes in mood and personality

The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. Confusion, suspicions, depression, fearfulness, and anxiety are common. Becoming easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone

What’s a typical age-related change?
Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

 

Related Episodes

Living With Alzheimer’s

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