According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million people in the United States. Alzheimer’s is often thought to affect mostly seniors — but people are diagnosed as early as age 40 and, in rare cases, at age 30. With the widespread prevalence of this disease, we thought it would be helpful to discuss a few of the disease’s early warning signs.
Loss of Memory
In today’s busy society, it’s no surprise that we may forget we double-booked two appointments, or the name of the person to whom we were just introduced. However, if you or a loved one are often confused or forgetting important dates and facts, you should see a doctor to rule out a possible Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Those suffering from Alzheimer’s often begin to place items in unusual places, which they cannot locate. It may be car keys, a cell phone, or a remote control, but it proves to be very frustrating as they may believe others are hiding or stealing these items from them.
Declining Invites to Social Functions
In addition to the other symptoms, you may notice someone suffering from Alzheimer’s to decline social events they used to frequent, family functions, or participation in activities and hobbies they previously loved. This often worsens as an individual’s symptoms become more severe.
An individual may have frequent pauses in their speech. They may stop mid-sentence and completely forget what they were going to say. Pay attention if you notice too many repetitive conversations, or an individual often having great difficulties to find the “right word” for specific items. They may laugh it off, but if it happens often, it should be further investigated.
Decline in Personal Hygiene
Since dementia impairs an individual’s ability to make judgments, it often manifests as a lack of willingness to change clothing or bathe on a regular basis. This may be because they like the familiarity or are simply overwhelmed by the steps involved.
Although this is not an exhaustive list, it is a good starting point if you notice unusual behaviors from a loved one or difficulties performing daily tasks. In any case, you should always talk to a doctor if you suspect something is wrong, as they can refer you to an Alzheimer’s specialist who can best support you. If you are looking for memory care for yourself or a loved one, GreenField Terrace offers assisted living for those with a primary diagnosis of dementia.