Early Signs of Alzheimer's Disease

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, cognitive thinking, language and behavior. It is the most common dementia among older adults, with symptoms that gradually worsen over time.

Many older adults experience what we call “senior moments”; lapses of memory where they forget why they entered a room, misplace their keys, glasses, or leave a shopping list at home. These mental glitches are commonly associated with aging and generally should not cause much concern. However, when problems with memory begin to interfere with the ability to function normally at home or start to disrupt everyday life, it may be time to seek help from a medical professional.

Alzheimer’s Symptoms to Watch for in Your Loved One

While currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, recognizing some of the early signs can result in a proper diagnosis, allowing treatments to begin that can improve overall quality of life for your loved one.

Certain risk factors can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, such as age, genetics, and family history, as well as high cholesterol or blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. When you’re visiting an aging loved one, watch for some of these early signs of Alzheimer’s:

Memory Loss

Memory issues that disrupt daily life should not be ignored. If you find your loved one is relying on you more regularly for appointment reminders, is forgetting very recently learned information, or repeatedly asking the same question after you’ve just answered it, these are some of the most recognizable signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Trouble Communicating

Your loved one may have trouble finding words to describe an object, feelings, or may struggle with writing. A common Alzheimer’s symptom is losing the ability to follow along in a conversation or successfully expressing a thought.

Confusion with Time and Space

Sometimes, those with Alzheimer’s find familiar surroundings suddenly strange and insist they’ve never been there before. Or, they may forget how to get to places they visit often, such as the pharmacy or grocery store. It’s also common to exhibit confusion over the day or date, month or even the current season.

Difficulty Completing Tasks and Problem Solving

Confusion with time and places also leads to difficulty driving to familiar locations. Loved ones may also experience problems with everyday tasks like cleaning, balancing a checkbook or cooking dinner. If they do complete such tasks you might notice mistakes, bills being paid late or expired food in the refrigerator.

Mood Swings or Changes in Behavior

You may notice a loved one acting out of character or experiencing severe mood swings. They may exhibit fear, anxiety, or depression, which are all signs of Alzheimer’s disease due to the ongoing changes in the brain.

Social Withdrawal

Issues with memory can cause those with Alzheimer’s disease to withdraw from social functions and other activities they once enjoyed. These social activities become difficult because they no longer remember the rules to the weekly card game or how to finish a project they just started.

Exhibiting Poor Judgment

Your loved one may fall victim to scams targeting seniors, or begin making poor financial decisions. You may also notice a change in his or her grooming or hygiene habits, or dressing inappropriately for the season.
The sooner you seek medical attention after noticing these signs of Alzheimer’s disease, the better quality of life your loved one can enjoy. 

Compassionate Memory Care in Sioux Falls

Explore the memory care center at Trail Ridge today. For more information about senior living near Sioux Falls and the options available at Trail Ridge, contact us today at 605-339-4847.