10 Signs Your Loved One May Have Alzheimer’s
Close to 44 million seniors currently have Alzheimer’s and only about a quarter of them have actually been diagnosed. When you think about it, it’s not all that surprising that people suffering from Alzheimer’s put off the diagnosis. It’s a grueling disease that’s difficult for the patient, but also extremely difficult on all the loved ones in their life. By denying that it’s happening, they can put off facing the reality for a little longer.
It’s an understandable impulse, but a flawed one. Making the moves to determine a diagnosis as soon as symptoms start to show up can have benefits:
Your loved one can start receiving treatment sooner.
While there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatments that can help improve the symptoms.
You can better prepare for their care.
Families that wait too long for diagnosis often find themselves not really knowing how to provide proper care, how to pay for it, or how to figure out what the patient would want. An early diagnosis gives you the chance to talk all this over while your loved one is still coherent enough to provide input.
You can better prepare yourself emotionally.
Loving someone with Alzheimer’s is hard. An early diagnosis won’t make it easier, but it will give you more time to educate yourself on what to expect, brace yourself emotionally for what’s to come, and learn how to appreciate the time you still have left.
10 Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Many seniors experience some memory loss, so these symptoms don’t definitively mean your loved one has Alzheimer’s, but they’re a good signal that it’s time to talk to your doctor about the possibility.
1. Regularly repeated questions
Does your loved one often ask you the same questions over and over again? Questions you just answered yesterday or even this morning?
2. Little notes around the house
Have you seen any sticky notes around the house with notes or instructions helping your loved one remember tasks they used to do without thinking?
3. Difficulty with every day tasks
Does your loved one suddenly have trouble with tasks that used to be simple for them, like making dinner or paying the bills?
4. Trouble following storylines
Does your loved one get confused when someone tells a story or have a hard time following their favorite TV shows?
5. Trouble finding items
Do they suddenly never seem able to find their keys, or do items end up in strange places, like jewelry in the refrigerator or food in the closet?
6. Getting lost often
Have they started inexplicably showing up late to things or getting lost on formerly familiar routes?
7. Hard time communicating
Do they have a hard time remembering words and communicating basic concepts?
8. Difficulty focusing on one thing
Are they easily distracted and have a hard time finishing one task before their focus drifts elsewhere?
9. Mood changes
Depression and anger are early signs of Alzheimer’s. Does your previously cheerful or patient loved one now get easily upset or mad?
10. Behavioral issues get worse late in day
Sundowning – getting more easily upset or confused in the evening – is a well documented symptom of Alzheimer’s. Does your loved one often exhibit moodiness or anger in the evening?
If you found yourself answering yes to a lot of the items on the list, head to your doctor to see what they say. It’s not easy to hear your loved one has Alzheimer’s, but it’s better to know and have the chance to respond appropriately than live in denial and hope for the best.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month. Please share this infographic with your friends and family to spread the knowledge about the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.