Your loved one’s retirement can be their “golden years”—but with the unstoppable march of time comes inevitable age-related health complications. Although growing old often involves grandchildren and retirement, it also brings about a litany of possible medical conditions affecting the mind, body and spirit.
Alzheimer’s is one of these conditions. In the United States alone, 5.5 million people have Alzheimer’s. Among these, 5.3 million are sixty-five or older while the other 200,000 under sixty-five are living with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Is There a Test for Alzheimer’s?
There is not one formalized test to diagnose Alzheimer’s. Doctors use a variety of tests; tools; and the opinions of other physicians, such as neurologists, neuropsychologists, geriatricians and others; to determine whether someone is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Thus, several factors are in play like family history, neurological exams, mental status tests, and brain imaging.
So what are the early signs of Alzheimer’s? If many people have the early determiners for Alzheimer’s disease, how are those signs detected? Early Alzheimer’s detection is critical as it opens up more possibilities for treatment and offers more hope for those who are affected. Are there ways of catching this devastating disease before it takes hold so you can get your loved one the help they need?
Do People Suffering From Alzheimer’s Know They Have It?
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. Although most people associate Alzheimer’s with forgetting, it is more than just memory loss. The medical term for memory loss that disrupts daily life is Dementia. Alzheimer’s is one possible cause of dementia.
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
Here are ten warning signs that your mother, father or another relative may be developing Alzheimer’s disease.
1. Forgetting Things That Just Happened
While there is more to the disease than misremembering, multi-level memory loss is one of the key determiners. Forgetting dates, names, what was just said, what is happening, and asking for the same information repeatedly are all signs.
2. Issues Problem-Solving, Planning and Remembering
It could be struggling with monthly bills, or memory-loss-related issues such as keeping appointments or following a recipe they’ve made a thousand times. Taking a long time to do simple math is another sign that your loved one may be struggling with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
3. Confusion With Time and Place
Not knowing the time, season or where they are and how they got there are big indicators that your loved one may be suffering from Alzheimer’s. Some memory loss is inevitable with aging, so it’s common for elderly people to forget things that happened years ago, but people not suffering from Alzheimer’s usually remember these details later.
4. Difficulty Handling Everyday Tasks
From getting lost driving to their favorite lunch spot to not remembering how to play a cherished board game, these memory loss issues are signs that your loved one may be heading towards Alzheimer’s.
Remember, to the sufferer, they are completely normal; that means that when they confront a world that doesn’t seem to understand them, they’re prone to fits of anxiety, confusion, frustration, depression and suspicion. These moods can be magnified if they are away from the confines of their home where everything is familiar.
6. Poor Judgment
You may find that your relative has given a large chunk of money or something precious from their home away. Or that they have stopped showering, shaving or taking care of themselves.
7. Communication Problems
They might have difficulty joining or following a conversation they are a part of. They might stop in the middle of a sentence and not know what they had said or have trouble identifying things by their real name.
8. Trouble With Vision
Breakdown of vision is common in the elderly but especially for those with Alzheimer’s. Problems seeing shapes, colors, spatial relationships and distances can all result. If you suspect a loved one of having Alzheimer’s, it is time for them to give up driving.
9. Misplacing Things
A person developing Alzheimer’s might put things in unusual places and be unable to retrace their steps to retrieve them. This could result in allegations of theft, with family or assisted living personnel being blamed.
10. Withdrawing From Family and Friends
If your once gregarious loved one has suddenly become a bit reclusive, this behavior may point to developing Alzheimer’s. Their inability to hold a conversation, remember what’s happening or keep appointments may have something to do with this factor.
Getting Help for Your Loved One
Alzheimer’s patients don’t necessarily exhibit all 10 of these memory loss warning signs at the same time or all the time. It’s common to develop one or two of these symptoms severely with the others showing up in ebbs and flows. No cure for Alzheimer’s exists, but with early detection, your loved one can receive early treatment. This can lead to greater independence and having a say in their subsequent treatment. For more information on how you can best serve your relatives who may be suffering from Alzheimer’s, contact our caring staff today. We have memory care homes in Littleton, Parker, Castle Rock, and the greater Denver Area.