As we grow older, some change in memory is typical. However, the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are much more than small lapses in memory. Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s is difficulty communicating and learning, as well as thinking and reasoning, and they would be strong enough to have an impact on everyday life.
September marks not only Alzheimer’s Month but also Alzheimer’s Day is on Saturday, September 21. At Browning Geriatric Consulting, we have created a list of early signs of Alzheimer’s disease so you can be aware and know the difference between regular memory changes and potential Alzheimer’s warning signs.
Alzheimer’s Early Warning Signs
- Significant Memory Loss – Consistently forgetting new information is the most common early sign of Alzheimer’s. Overall memory loss, forgetting substantial life events and asking to repeat information several times are also prevalent early signs.
What’s normal as we age? Forgetting a name or an appointment sometimes and remembering it later is very typical of aging.
- Difficulty Accomplishing Tasks – Alzheimer’s patients have difficulty accomplishing everyday tasks, like preparing a meal, making a phone call, or playing a simple card game.
What’s normal as we age? When you forget why you walked into a room or what you were going to say to someone.
- Issues Writing or Speaking – When you have Alzheimer’s, you often have problems forgetting simple words or finding a substitute word or phrase in its place, which makes speech and writing difficult. For example, saying the word toothbrush or “the thing to clean my mouth.”
What’s normal as we age? Sometimes having trouble finding the correct word to say.
- Confusion with Date, Time, or Place – Alzheimer’s disease often makes people get confused with the date (they may think it is 20 years ago), time of year (Winter instead of Summer), and even get lost in their own home or neighborhood that they have lived in for years.
What’s normal as we age? Not remembering the day of the week or where you needed to go.
- Decreased Judgement – People with Alzheimer’s might not dress appropriately for the weather, or they might buy into a scam.
What’s normal as we age? Making a poor decision occasionally.
- Difficulty with Abstract Thinking – Alzheimer’s patients find it very challenging to perform complex mental tasks, such as why we use numbers and what we use them for.
What’s normal as we age? Balancing the checkbook becomes a challenge.
- Always Misplacing Things – Typically, a person with Alzheimer’s disease might put things in strange places, such as putting their wallet in the freezer.
What’s normal as we age? Not being able to find your keys or wallet, but later on, retracing your steps to find them.
- Mood or Behavior Changes – Rapid mood swings are typical for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. It could be going from a calm mood to tears or anger and aggression, for no reason at all. Extreme confusion or anxiety towards family member are also very common.
What’s normal as we age? Feeling sad or moody on occasion
- Trouble Understanding Images – Difficulty reading, estimating distance, or determining color and contrast are all typical, and may cause problems with driving skills.
What’s normal as we age? Vision changes due to cataracts.
- Disinterest in Social Activities – Avoiding social activities that a person used to love is very common for a person with signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s normal as we age? Sometimes hesitating to join in group functions.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one are showing signs of any of the symptoms above, contact Browning Geriatric Consulting at 864-233-5260 for an appointment to be evaluated.