November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s affects the brain and can cause a slow decline in cognitive function. It affects your memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. Below are 10 symptoms that could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.
If you notice yourself, or someone you know experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a physician that specializes in memory care.
Symptom #1: Memory Loss Disrupting Daily Life
One of the first and most common symptoms is memory loss. More specifically, short term memory loss. Forgetting about recent events that have happened, forgetting important dates, and repeating questions are signs to look out for.
Not all memory loss is due to Alzheimer’s though. As we age, our memory slips as well. But if you notice any of the above are starting to happen more frequently, it may be time to speak to a medical professional.
Symptom #2: Finding it Hard to Plan or Solve Problems
Following a recipe or keeping up with paying the bills might seem like a no-brainer to almost any adult, but those with signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia can find these tasks difficult to follow through with or take longer to complete. This can lead to feelings of frustration.
Symptom #3: Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
As technology changes, as the world changes and as we age, sometimes we need help with turning on appliances or using a new phone. But, anyone with Alzheimer’s may find it difficult to complete daily tasks like driving to the doctor’s office that they’ve been going to for years, or forgetting how to play a favorite game.
Symptom #4: Mixing up Time or Place
Similar to memory loss, people with Alzheimer’s can lose track of days and even time. One of the biggest, and scariest struggles that those with Alzheimer’s face is that they sometimes forget where they are. This can pose a danger to the person if they end up wandering off to a place where they didn’t mean to go — especially without telling someone.
Symptom #5: Having a Hard Time Understanding Visual Images and Space
This symptom is a tricky one. Not all vision problems will be related to Alzheimer’s. But, for some, it is. Struggling with vision can cause problems judging distance while driving or have challenges with reading.
Symptom #6: Trouble with Words When Speaking
You may notice that someone with Alzheimer’s might have trouble with forming sentences or drifting off when speaking. The reason why this happens is because Alzheimer’s/Dementia damages the parts of the brain that control language.
Symptom #7: Losing Items and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps
Another common symptom of Alzheimer’s is putting items back in unusual places or misplacing them all together. Sometimes they might not even be able to retrace their steps to remember where they put a certain item. As Alzheimer’s progresses, sometimes they may accuse those close to them of stealing something they’ve misplaced.
Symptom #8: Decreased or Poor Judgement
When someone suddenly starts to not care about personal hygiene / grooming, it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s. Sudden changes in judgement or making poor decisions can also contribute to Alzheimer’s.
Symptom #9: Not Interested in Work or Social Activities
Due to having trouble finishing sentences or wandering off in thought, some people may start to isolate themselves from social settings.
Symptom #10: Sudden Changes in Mood and Personality
Some sudden mood changes can be confused, suspicious, depressed, and/or anxious. Sometimes they can easily become upset or frustrated.
If you start to notice any of these symptoms in yourself, or someone you know, it may be time to go to your doctor to get evaluated. They will be able to help you figure out what next steps to take.
The Alzheimer’s Association also has several resources here are resources that can help. You can read more about them here.