Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive form of dementia, affects millions of people in the United States. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 6.7 million people age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s today. The majority of Americans with Alzheimer’s (almost two-thirds) are women. Older black Americans are around twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s (or other forms of dementia) compared to older white Americans. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the early signs of Alzheimer’s. An early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s opens the door to support, allowing people to manage their symptoms and get the necessary care. It also helps people to plan for the future.
Some common early signs of Alzheimer’s include:
- Memory loss
- Challenges in solving problems
- Difficulty completing tasks
- Problems with words in writing or speaking
- Decreased judgment
Let’s get started with this guide to early stage Alzheimer’s.
Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, particularly in the early stages. Forgetting recently learned information and important dates, and asking the same questions again and again are all potential signs of Alzheimer’s. For example, a person may have difficulty remembering a recent conversation. A person may also find that they are relying more and more on memory aids such as reminder notes than they used to. The cause of memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is damage to the brain. This damage can affect the areas of the brain involved in retrieving and creating memories. Typically, problems with memory become more persistent as time progresses and may begin to affect everyday life.
Difficulty Completing Everyday Tasks
A person with Alzheimer’s may also begin to experience difficulty with regular, familiar tasks. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s may find it difficult to use home appliances, even though they are entirely familiar and experienced with using them. Other signs here include having difficulty driving to a familiar location, remembering the rules of a board or card game, and organizing lists (such as a grocery list).
Trouble With Solving Problems
Another potential early sign of Alzheimer’s is if a person begins to find it challenging to solve problems or plan for future events. For example, a person may experience trouble keeping track of monthly bills or following a step-by-step guide (such as a recipe). A person may find it takes far longer to complete a task than it once did and that they have difficulty concentrating. While it can be said that some memory loss is normal in old age, what is not normal is impairment in problem-solving and planning.
Misplacing Items and Inability to Retrace Steps
All of us, every now and then, misplace an item and struggle to remember where we put it. Usually, we are able to retrace our steps and locate it without too much hassle. In the case of a person living with Alzheimer’s, it may be far more difficult to retrace their steps and find the misplaced item. They may also start to put items in unusual places where they are difficult to find. As the disease progresses, a person may also begin to accuse others of stealing, as they are not able to understand what has happened.
Problems With Words
Another early sign of Alzheimer’s is difficulty with words, whether in speaking or writing. For example, a person may have difficulty joining or following a conversation. They have to stop in the middle of a sentence and express uncertainty about how to continue. They may also repeat something they have already said without realizing it. A person with Alzheimer’s may also struggle with vocabulary, whether using the wrong name for a familiar object or having trouble remembering it altogether. This may also occur in writing.
Personality and Mood Changes
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may experience personality and behavior changes. These can include depression, anxiety, and irritability. A person may also become fearful or suspicious of other people, including close family members or friends. They may find it especially challenging when put outside of their comfort zone or when a routine is disrupted. A person may also withdraw from family, friends, and their local community.
Vision problems are another potential symptom of Alzheimer’s. While there may not be anything physically wrong with the eyes, a person may experience vision problems as the brain is unable to fully process visual information.
A person may experience difficulty with:
- Depth perception
- Loss of contrast sensitivity
- Peripheral field
There are a number of signs that may point to a person having difficulty with their eyesight in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. These include difficulty finding things, avoiding obstacles, recognizing people, and locating food on their plate.
Understanding the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
As Alzheimer’s progresses, a person may find that it becomes more and more difficult to perform regular, everyday tasks and require additional support. The good news for people living with Alzheimer’s is that help and support are available. Here at Alura Senior Living in Rockledge, FL, we offer specialized memory care for dementia and Alzheimer’s residents. In addition, we also offer Independent living, assisted living, and respite care. Our state-of-the-art senior living community offers the highest level of care to people living with Alzheimer’s. If you have any questions about our memory care services or would like to schedule a tour of our community, simply contact our friendly team.