Alzheimer’s Insights: Ten warning signs for Alzheimer’s
Published 6:09 pm Saturday, September 21, 2019
Ever misplaced your sunglasses? How about putting down that glass of water and then forgetting where you put it? And the ever-popular “I just walked in this room to get something and now I can’t remember what it was.”
It happens to all of us, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is NOT a normal part of aging. Rather, Alzheimer’s disease
impairs intellectual abilities and memory enough to interfere with daily life, going far beyond the annoyance of losing your keys.
Alzheimer’s is not a “one size fits all” illness. It attacks people in different ways, but it may provide clues to its presence through one of the following 10 early signs and symptoms.
- Forgetting something that happened a short while previously.
Short-term memory appears to take a downhill turn. Someone may forget recent dates or events. They may request the same information multiple times or call on family members or personal notes to accomplish daily work.
- Difficulty in solving basic problems.
Someone who has always been on track with their household bills and bank statement suddenly seems to have trouble with it. Maybe they can still balance a checkbook, but it takes much longer to do.
- What day is it? What time is it? Where am I?
People with Alzheimer’s tend to live in the current moment. In other words, they may have difficulty with the concept of “yesterday” and “tomorrow,” among other time-related functions. Also, not knowing where they are – and being unable to tell you how they got there – is a common symptom.
- The missing sunglasses.
Their sunglasses are found in the refrigerator. In related actions, the person with Alzheimer’s has difficulty recreating their path to look for them, and quite possibly may accuse others of stealing them.
- Obvious mood and/or personality changes.
The person with Alzheimer’s can suffer from – in no particular order – depression, anxiety, suspicion or confusion. Being out of familiar surroundings can also make them more prone to being upset.
- Poor decision-making.
This may manifest itself in several ways, from no longer trying to keep themselves clean to giving away money or showing poor judgment with finances.
- Conversation difficulties.
Like poor decision-making, this too can manifest itself in several ways. Calling something by the wrong name, or repeating the same stories over and over, or difficulty in taking part in a conversation.
- What was familiar is now foreign.
Someone with Alzheimer’s may not remember how to drive to their favorite restaurant, make something as simple as oatmeal or even remember the rules for playing a favorite game.
- Vision issues.
Easily confused with just growing older is a difficulty in being able to identify colors or contrasts. The ability to judge distances and reading and comprehension ability may suffer.
- Avoiding social and work engagements.
The person with Alzheimer’s may not be able to finish work assignments. In spare time or if retired, they may lose interest in hobbies and keep more to themselves.
Remember, Alzheimer’s manifests itself in many ways. Someone may have just one of the 10 early warning signs, or several. The signs could be mild, or severe, or both. Early and accurate diagnosis is critical to connect someone with the available resources and treatments. If you have questions, consult a physician or call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900 for more information.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s®. For more information, visit alz.org or call the 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900.
Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas. He can be reached at email@example.com