How to Spot the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease - 24|7 Nursing Care

How to Spot the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Memory loss and forgetfulness can be a part of aging that may or may not lead to something as serious as dementia. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease are due to aging, family history, hereditary genetics, a previous head injury, or heart diseases such as a stroke, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Early Signs of Alzheimer’s DiseaseOf course, it is common for us to occasionally misplace items or forget a name every once in a while, however, there are early signs that can determine if you or a loved one might be suffering from Alzheimer’s. These signs include:

  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks – If you are finding it hard to accomplish your everyday tasks like creating a grocery list, driving to a familiar place, or forgetting how to use certain appliances, such as a coffee maker, this may be an early sign of memory loss.
  • Misplacing items – While everyone misplaces items every once in a while, those who suffer from this disease are constantly misplacing familiar items such as their keys, wallet, or phone and aren’t able to retrace their steps. As the disease progresses, they might accuse others of stealing said items.
  • Changes in mood and personality – Individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s might find themselves becoming irritable, upset, confused, fearful, or anxious if taken out of their comfort zone. This can include being out of their home, visiting family or friends, or visiting a new place.
  • Confusion with time or place – Those living with memory loss often become confused with time or places. They may have trouble understanding something if it isn’t happening immediately or lose track of certain dates, seasons and overall time. If they are running an errand or visiting a family or friend, they may easily forget where they are or how they got there.
  • Challenges in planning or problem solving – Another common sign of memory loss is difficulty concentrating or taking longer to do a task that was once easy for them to complete. This could mean following a recipe, keeping track of monthly bills, or following simple instructions.
  • New problems with speaking or writing – It is common for some to find the right word sometimes, especially if English is your second language. However, if you find you or your loved one is having trouble following or joining a conversation, it may be a sign that they are struggling with Alzheimer’s. They might find themselves repeating themselves or struggle with naming everyday objects such as a clock or phone.

How to Approach Your Loved One with Early Stages of Memory Loss

As a caregiver or loved one for someone who might be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, it might be hard to talk about the certain signs you see from them. However, it is crucial to talk to your loved one as soon as possible. Here are some tips on how to speak to your loved one about the possible risk of Alzheimer’s:

  • Have the conversation as early as possible – When you spot a few of the early signs of Alzheimer’s (see above), it is extremely important to say something as soon as possible before any other signs appear.
  • Plan the conversation – The best way to get through this difficult conversation is by establishing a plan. Choose a way to approach the situation by asking questions such as, “I was wondering if you’ve noticed the same changes in your behavior that I’ve noticed?” and choose to talk to them alone or with other loved ones present if possible. Remember they may not react as you might think. If the conversation becomes too aggressive, try discussing it at another time or seek a medical professional to assist.
  • Offer your support – This can be a scary time for your loved one and seeking a doctor might seem stressful and overwhelming. Reassure them that you are there for them and join them during doctor visits is a great way to show your support and ease their nerves. Be prepared that your loved one may also be showing signs of confusion, denial, or withdrawal and it is important to acknowledge their feelings.
  • Visit a doctor – If you’re concerned about signs you see in yourself or a loved one, contact your doctor for a physical, as well as, a mental exam.

At 24/7 Nursing Care, we are committed to the health of our clients. If you or a loved one is already suffering from a form of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, 24/7 Nursing Care offers in-home care services for dementia patients. Contact us for a free in-home consultation to learn more about the options for your unique needs at 786-518-3622 Miami-Dade or 954-949-1332 Broward.

 

References:

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s (n.d.). Retrieved January 9, 2020 from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs

Sauer, A. (2018, July 16). How to Talk With a Parent About Dementia Symptoms. Retrieved February January 9, 2020 from https://www.alzheimers.net/how-to-talk-with-a-parent-about-dementia-symptoms/

 

 

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