Dealing with cognitive impairment can be challenging for everyone involved. Whether you struggle with confusion, you are a caregiver, or you are a loved one, you can feel the weight of such a difficult and complex condition.
This month we want to bring awareness for a specific condition commonly associated with cognitive impairment: Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s is essential for identifying abnormal cognitive behavior and seeking treatment in a timely manner. Early diagnosis gives you more options when it comes to treatment, and can help manage and lessen symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s.
1. Memory loss that affects day-to-day life
One symptom that is frequently associated with Alzheimer’s is the inability to retain recently learned information. Though some forgetfulness may be normal with age such as occasionally forgetting an appointment or someone’s name and remembering it later, more frequent forgetfulness can be a cause for concern. Asking the same question multiple times, forgetting important information, or the need to rely on others or memory aids to remember details are all early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Difficulty with problem-solving or making plans
Many patients dealing with cognitive impairment struggle with concentrating, following plans such as a familiar recipe, or problem-solving. Issues such as keeping track of monthly bills and managing finances can be common with Alzheimer’s as well.
3. Difficulty completing tasks that are familiar
While aging can make some tasks more difficult such as keeping up with newer technology, any trouble with daily tasks such as driving to a familiar location or making a list for the grocery store should be noted.
4. Confusion associated with time and/or place
It is common for older individuals to confuse the date or day of the week, especially when they are retired! However, losing track of important dates, seasons, or confusing the passage of time may be a cause for concern. Forgetting how they arrived at a location or where they are can be common signs of Alzheimer’s.
5. Difficulty understanding spatial relationships and visual images
Did you know that vision problems can also be signs of Alzheimer’s? Having trouble maintaining balance or struggling to read should be brought to your doctor’s attention. It is important to note changes in vision associated with cataracts are not necessarily warning signs for Alzheimer’s. However, issues with judging distance, color and contrast, and issues with driving can be Alzheimer’s-related.
6. Frequently misplacing items and the inability to retrace steps
Patients struggling with Alzheimer’s may frequently misplace items or leave them in unusual places and forget where they put them. Patients with more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s may suspect that someone has stolen their possessions since they can’t recall what happened to them.
7. Trouble with words when speaking or writing
Those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty participating in conversations and often struggle with basic vocabulary. While occasional confusion or trouble coming up with the right words is normal with aging, frequent problems placing common words should be addressed.
8. Decreased or poor judgment.
We all can have poor judgment at times, especially when it comes to remembering less frequent activities such as getting an oil change or picking up dry cleaning. However, when more basic and familiar tasks become an issue such as judging when it’s necessary to take a bath or how to spend money, this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
9. Changes in personality or mood
Alzheimer’s patients can frequently experience personality shifts and mood changes. While being irritated when a routine is disrupted is a common age-related change, confusion, fear, anxiety, suspicion, and even depression can easily affect Alzheimer’s patients for no rhyme or reason.
10. Withdrawal from work and/or social activities
Due to the many communication and emotional challenges of Alzheimer’s, some patients may withdraw from social interactions, activities, and events in which they previously enjoyed or participated.
It is important to encourage your loved one to get checked if you suspect that he or she is struggling with Alzheimer’s. Early detection is important to ensure the most preferable and wide variety of treatment options. While Alzheimer’s cannot be reversed or stopped, many treatment options can help your loved one manage symptoms and experience a better quality of life. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Transform Your Health, PLLC today.