Are you watching your loved one become more forgetful and starting to wonder, “is this normal?” Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia - a group of brain disorders that cause individuals to lose intellectual and social skills. Read about the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease to understand how normal aging differs from deteriorating mental capacity.
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's
Forgetting things is normal. Everyone forgets from time to time where they put their car keys, or what level of the garage they parked their car. What isn’t normal is forgetting important names and dates, repeatedly asking for the same information, or over relying on caregivers to remind you about everyday tasks that have been routine practices for years.
Poor Problem Solving
Early dementia signs often include increased difficulty figuring out how to perform basic activities at work or home. Your parent or family member might want to prepare a family meal that’s been a weekly family tradition for thirty years, but struggle with the can opener or knobs on the oven. The same meal that once took an hour to make, suddenly takes an entire afternoon.
Vision loss is a normal sign of aging; however, difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast is not. For example, If your loved one is experiencing more close encounters while driving due to not understanding traffic signs or color representations that signal speed up, slow down, and stop, this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
Trouble Speaking or Writing
Everyone struggles for the right word on occasion, but older adults with early Alzheimer’s disease have a hard time putting their thoughts into words that others understand. Their speech might seem incomprehensible to loved ones. Additionally, your loved one might pick up a pen to write, or open a laptop to type an email, but be unsure of the sequence of letters that make up words and sentences.
Withdrawal From Loved Ones
Pay close attention to your family member who seems increasingly depressed and wants to isolate from loved ones. Your parent may be unable to express his or her feelings, but it’s obvious to you that he or she wants less interaction with you, doesn’t look forward to social interaction with friends, and doesn't want to participate in social activities.
Mood or Personality Changes
Is your loved one acting peculiar and not like himself or herself anymore? Drastic shifts in mood, or unusual behaviors can be an indicator of Alzheimer’s. Your parent might seem agitated for no reason and lash out at others without warning or cause. You might notice your loved one become guarded or suspicious around others that have been longtime friends, or overly fearful, worried or depressed.
If you have started noticing any of these signs or symptoms in your loved one, it’s time to take him or her to the doctor for an evaluation. There is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are simple things that you can do help. One of the most important things you can give someone with a memory impairment is consistency, structure, and a routine that does not change from day to day.
Are you looking into a senior living community for your loved one? Landmark Senior Living has seven affordably priced locations in the United States with amenities and features older adults want and need. We provide Alzheimer’s care that helps older adults feel at ease in their environment, and our employees have specialty training in dementia care. Call one of our dedicated team members today and schedule a tour at one of our seven premier senior living communities.