When I wrote the last article on dementia, I was surprised at how many responses we received. I received a lot of questions about dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, so I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is progressive. It gets more severe over time. Part of the problem is that symptoms are often mistaken for normal changes due to the aging process. Learn to spot the warning signs of Alzheimer’s and how to know the difference.
Alzheimer’s – When memory loss affects everyday life, it’s time to look at it. When short-term memory is diminished, and the person cannot recall recent events or information, this may be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
Normal Aging – Being forgetful is part of the normal aging process, but the person usually remembers later. It’s easy to mistake these memory problems with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
CONFUSION OVER PLACE AND TIME
Alzheimer’s – It’s common for those who have Alzheimer’s to be confused about where they are and the passage of time. Getting the days confused or not understanding what year it is becomes typical behavior.
Normal Aging – As we age, we are liable to forget what day it is from time to time or to have trouble remembering when an appointment is scheduled, but we can reason and figure it out later.
Alzheimer’s – One warning sign is developing the inability to complete familiar everyday tasks. For instance, one may forget the steps to cooking a favorite dish. Reading and other activities that require concentration are often no longer possible.
Normal Aging – Difficulty using new technology or even tasks like using the television remote may confuse most healthy seniors.
PROBLEMS WITH LANGUAGE
Alzheimer’s – Having problems participating in the conversation is common in Alzheimer’s patients. They will often be unable to think of a word and use a description instead. For example, “The thing you call people with,” instead of “telephone.” This loss of language skills may cause a person to become disinterested in hobbies or social gatherings.
Normal Aging – If a person has trouble finding the correct word from time to time, there’s no cause for concern. This is perfectly normal as we age.
MISPLACING FAMILIAR ITEMS
Alzheimer’s – When people with Alzheimer’s misplace something, they cannot think about where they saw it last or retrace their steps to discover where it is. In later stages, they may be looking for something and not know what that is.
Normal Aging – Forgetting where you put your keys is a common problem for all of us. The difference is in the ability to retrace our steps and figure it out.
MOOD SWINGS AND PERSONALITY CHANGES
Alzheimer’s – Anxiety and depression are common problems for those with Alzheimer’s. It is also typical for them to be suspicious and confused. When these emotions escalate into anger and frustration, they should be considered for treatment.
Normal Aging – As we grow older, we tend to become more regimented, and routine becomes vital. It’s normal to feel unhappy when our routine is disturbed. But in normal aging, this does not typically escalate to acting out.
ERRORS IN JUDGEMENT
Alzheimer’s – When a person has Alzheimer’s or other dementia, they may forget about personal hygiene. It’s typical for them to forget the steps they must take to shave, for instance. These are small errors compared to problems making decisions about money or legal matters, which can also be affected.
Normal Aging – People make errors in the normal aging process and may forget to pay a bill, as an example. These occasional errors are not cause for major concern.
If you are not sure if your loved ones are going through regular aging changes or in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, you can reach out to Lean On Dee and request a consultation. The dementia care check-in service keeps you in touch with the realities your family members or friends may be experiencing. Call 800-413-8733 today and get the support you need.