Alzheimer's disease affects over 5 million people in the United States, with someone developing the disease every 66 seconds. Alzheimer's is a form of dementia and a neurodegenerative disease that causes a steady decline in not only memory but also thinking and reasoning skills. Because it is such a common disease, researchers are continually studying symptoms, looking for early signs and searching for new treatments.
Though, there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer's, there are treatment options, and a person can continue to live a happy and fulfilled life with the proper care. Services like memory care (also known as dementia or Alzheimer's care), help individuals maintain a high quality of life in a safe and secure environment.
Alzheimer's care may be the right choice for families who do not have someone who can become a primary caregiver for the person living with dementia. Alzheimer's care provides specialized and compassionate care at senior living communities through specially-trained staff, nutrition, activities and therapies.
So what are the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's and other kinds of dementia?
MEMORY LOSS THAT AFFECTS EVERYDAY LIFE
As we age, it is common not to remember all of the little details and to sometimes need gentle reminders. Memory loss becomes a problem when it affects everyday life on a large scale. If your loved one is continuously experiencing memory loss, forgetting things like important dates, events, names or asking for the same information over and over again, they may be experiencing dementia.
DIFFICULTY COMPLETING COMMON TASKS
Whether it is at home, work or leisure – we all have repetitive tasks we complete every day. We feel like we could do them in our sleep, things like driving the same routes to and from work, brushing our teeth or enjoying a hobby we love. If a loved one suddenly becomes confused and unable to complete tasks that they do every day, this can be a sign of a deeper problem.
WITHDRAWAL AND DEPRESSION
Alzheimer’s can bring mood and personality changes in your loved one. Because everyday tasks become harder, it is not uncommon for people to become easily upset or agitated. To make it relatable, think of it as trying to build a house with only plastic tools. You want to complete the task, but you do not have the instruments to do it properly, even though you know you know how. It is like feeling out of your comfort zone 24-hours a day. These feelings often lead to withdrawal from social situations and depression.
We all misplace items from time to time. Nothing is more frustrating than searching high and low for your keys when you are already late. However, people with Alzheimer's do this frequently and are unable to trace their steps to find where they may have left something.
Another sign is misplacing an item and putting it in an unusual place. An example might be putting shoes in the refrigerator, while you put the milk in a bedroom dresser.
CHANGES IN HYGIENE
You may notice a difference in your loved one's hygiene routine. It is not uncommon for people suffering from memory loss to stop paying attention to grooming or cleaning rituals they have always upheld.
Recognizing these signs in a loved one is a good indicator that your loved one could be living with dementia, whether it is Alzheimer's or another form of memory loss. Early recognition can help you ensure your loved one stays safe, cared for and receives the assistance they need.
If you have more questions about signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's, please contact one of our Fieldstone Memory Care communities directly. Our team is waiting to assist you!