Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that has no cure. It is also difficult to diagnose; we currently have no test that can positively identify it while living. It is diagnosed primarily through a process of elimination and identification of symptoms.
Knowing the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is important. Early recognition leads to earlier diagnosis and treatment. And the earlier treatment starts, the more effective it is.
Some symptoms are more common than others, and most will not exhibit all symptoms. It is important for both the individuals themselves and those close to them to pay attention and watch for these signs.
- Loss of memory of recent events. While long-held memories often remain intact at first, newly learned information or events may be forgotten and not regained. This can result in forgetting important dates or events, increasingly having to rely on reminders, or needing to have things repeated over and over.
- Increased difficulty reasoning, planning, or solving problems. More complex tasks, like driving, following a recipe, or balancing a budget may be completed less efficiently and with more errors than is normal for the person’s age or education.
- Misplacing things in odd places and/or losing the ability to retrace steps. We all misplace things occasionally, but we can usually retrace our actions to find what we lost. Someone with Alzheimer’s, however, cannot do this and may be putting things in wholly inappropriate places (like putting carrots in the bathroom cabinet).
- Losing track of time and place. Some will lose track of not just days, but of seasons or the passage of time. They may also get disoriented and not know where they are or how they got there, even if it is a familiar place.
- Decreased or poor judgment. This refers to behaviors like neglecting personal hygiene, being suspicious of close friends and family for no reason, or giving a telemarketer huge amounts of money.
- Withdrawing from work or other social activities. Possibly due to feelings of being unable to “keep up” with what is going on, some begin to avoid social situations and stop participating in hobbies or other activities.
- Visual or language problems. While these are less common, a few may experience difficulty seeing contrast or colors or distance, and may begin having trouble speaking properly.
As the disease progresses, those with Alzheimer’s will become increasingly unable to interact with and respond to their environment and those in it, and will need increasing amounts of help with their own daily care.
If you would like more information about Alzheimer’s, or would like to visit one of our assisted living homes, please contact Unlimited Care Cottages today.