One of the first signs of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is short-term memory loss. Your senior loved one might forget where they parked the car and not be able to find it. Or they may miss a physician’s appointment even if they’ve been reminded about it.
Knowing what the early signs of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s are is important for adult children and family caregivers. By reviewing these early signs of dementia listed below, you’ll be better able to understand your loved one’s mental state.
Forgetting recently learned things
Everyone forgets things now and then. But if a loved one is regularly forgetting recently learned information (like appointments, dates or names) and not remembering those things later, it could be an early sign of dementia.
Difficulty working with numbers
Occasional errors balancing the checkbook are normal. Regularly misunderstanding numbers or mea- surements that are familiar (like quantities in a recipe) can be a memory loss symptom.
Inability to complete daily tasks
Another early sign of Alzheimer’s is the inability to complete familiar tasks like putting clothes away in the correct drawers or remembering how to get to a friend or relative’s house.
Confusion about time or place
Everyone can confuse a day of the week from time to time. But people with dementia forget where they are or have trouble understand the passing of time or seasons.
Memory loss affects behavior, so early signs of Alzheimer’s can include repeating words, asking the same questions over and over, repeating tasks or obsessively collecting items.
Problems with words
Another sign of dementia or memory loss symptom is a constant struggle with finding or using the right word or following or joining a conversation.
Losing the ability to find things
People with memory loss will have difficulty put- ting things in the right place and then back-tracking to find those items. This confusion can also cause them to accuse others of stealing those objects.
Regular lapses in judgment
Making a bad decision, once in a while, is human error. But people with Alzheimer’s experience unusual lapses in judgment, such as changes in decision making about money management and personal hygiene.
Withdrawal from social activities
Early signs of Alzheimer’s can include a discon- nection with social interaction and activity. People who begin to experience symptoms of memory loss may show a reluctance to joining in with activities that had been enjoyable in the past.
While everyone has a bad day now and again, people with memory loss often experience changes in personality and mood. They can become easily upset when out of their comfort zone, or experience bouts of confusion, depression, fear and anxiety.
People with Alzheimer’s don’t know they have it, so it’s not as if they can let their family know something is wrong. Knowing what to watch for will help to keep a loved one safe. When more than a few of these issues appear, it might be time to begin exploring your options for memory care. While no one wants to have to make the decision to move an aging parent out of their home, there may come a time when that choice is in their best interest. Overall, staying engaged and connected helps adults living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia enjoy a better quality of life.
Michelle Lovitt is the owner of Audubon Care Homes®, located at 4713 Dreyfous Avenue in Metairie. For more information and to schedule a personal tour of Metairie’s newest home, call 290-1717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.