Common Symptoms of Alzheimer's
As you age, you will have some decline in your health and abilities. It happens to everyone. You will not run as fast or jump as high as you could in high school. You won't have the same energy levels or motivation that you did in your 20s, and your multitasking abilities will never match your talents as a new parent. With aging comes age-related illnesses, like Alzheimer's. Since this illness can affect your memory, it is good to know what the symptoms of Alzheimer's are.
Though some decline is normal and expected, you want to be sure there isn’t something more to your changes or the changes in a loved one. How do you know what is typical in the aging process? Knowing how to recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer's is important, and will allow you to speak more easily with your doctor if you think something is wrong.
Now, let's take a look at 11 common symptoms of Alzheimer's.
Expected memory issues, as you age, include the occasional forgetful moment. Maybe names, dates or anniversaries slip your mind sporadically. The warning sign of declining memory focuses on memory loss that has a negative impact on your life and memory loss that happens at a consistent rate.
If you or your family member has been uncommonly forgetful, depending on others more for their memory, or has been using excessive or extreme methods to remember things, the memory decline may be significant.
Less Ability to Solve Problems
A steady pattern of failing to do things that were not problems previously could be a warning sign. Someone with early Alzheimer's may be able to solve problems or construct a plan, but it will take much longer to complete it and will likely be less effective or successful. Any issues involving math or multiple steps might be standout problems.
Problems With Daily Routines
Everyone has problems completing a common task on occasion. You may forget how to set the clock on the stove, and this is normal. The abnormal would be needing frequent teaching and reminders to accomplish simple tasks that you do every day, like if every day you use the radio and then one day you don’t know how to use it.
You might wake up sometimes thinking that it is Monday instead of Sunday, or that it is 8:00 a.m. instead of 5:00 a.m. This is a common experience for people of all ages. It is not common, though, to be significantly disoriented to time and place.
Someone with Alzheimer’s may not remember where they are or where they are going. They might not remember what day or year it is, or who they last spoke to.
Changes in Vision
Aging factors into changes in your senses as well. As you age, your vision will change, requiring modifications to your prescription or a minor surgery to correct. Vision problems related to Alzheimer’s go well beyond this and include serious issues in judging distances and color perception.
Someone might stop reading because the act has become too difficult or unproductive. Additionally, related to disorientation, people with Alzheimer’s might not be able to identify themselves in a picture or reflection.
Finding the best word to use can be a struggle. You might sometimes feel like the word you seek eludes you. Don’t worry. This is not a warning sign. However, a decline in the ability to have natural, flowing conversations with others is a warning sign. People with this issue may butt into the middle of a conversation or leave it prematurely.
Some people might also have difficulty finding words or names for familiar items. They may create words and phrases to describe something that already has a name.
You might lose your keys, the TV remote, or your glasses on a regular basis. Losing things is expected, especially during periods of high stress. But someone with Alzheimer’s will lose things at an increased rate.
Not only will the frequency be high, but the items that go missing will sometimes be odd and unexpected. The remote won’t be stuck in a couch cushion, it will be in the stove. They will have no idea where it is, and they might even blame you or someone else for misplacing it.
Poorer Decision-Making Skills
No one is perfect; everyone makes a mistake or a bad decision from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer’s will stand apart by making a series of poor choices over an extended period. Money will go missing as they become more susceptible to the influence of others. They may lend their car to someone they barely know, or give away family keepsakes. Actions such as this are cause for concern.
Skipping a shower for the day might be a welcomed break from your routine, but someone with Alzheimer’s may show a significant decrease in self-care. They may go days without showering while wearing the same clothes. If someone is usually clean cut but stops taking care of themselves, something is likely wrong. They may also have more trouble following through with medical recommendations like taking prescription medications.
The desire to be alone at times is to be expected, but someone with Alzheimer’s may unexpectedly begin withdrawing and isolating from a number of activities that were once pleasurable. They might stop going to work, socializing with friends, and leaving the house altogether.
They may present with indifference and apathy towards things that used to spark passion. Here, it will be important to differentiate Alzheimer’s from depression, since there is a bit of symptom overlap.
Some days will be positive and some will be negative. This is a natural aspect of life. A warning sign of Alzheimer’s is having a major shift in personality that lasts for extended periods or goes away and comes back frequently.
Feelings of confusion, paranoia, suspicion and fearfulness may seem more prevalent. In most situations, the trigger will be unclear or impossible to find.