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10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

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An elderly man stands by the window, gazing into the distance outside, choosing to be in solitude and distancing himself from others.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly reduces memory and thinking skills, ultimately leading to the inability to carry out simple day-to-day tasks. Some warning signs are well-known, such as memory loss, while others seem unrelated, including mood disruptions.

The common warnings for Alzheimer’s include these 10 signs:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges with planning and problem-solving
  3. Difficulties performing familiar tasks
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Disorientation in visual and spatial awareness
  6. Problems with speaking and writing
  7. Misplacing objects
  8. Impaired judgement
  9. Social withdrawal
  10. Changes in personality and mood

Alzheimer’s affects millions worldwide, making it a significant public health issue—but support is available through memory care communities. Knowing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease can help you and your family take appropriate action when you’re wondering how to decide if it’s time for memory care.

10 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Cognitive problems, including memory loss, can be a part of getting older, but not all older adults are affected by Alzheimer’s. Some memory changes can be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If you notice any of the following 10 issues affecting a loved one, it may be time to speak with them about their needs. 

  1. Memory Loss that Disrupts Daily Life

Memory loss is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. However, it’s important to differentiate between normal age-related forgetfulness and memory loss that causes more significant issues. 

Missing the occasional appointment because of forgetfulness can be normal. However, those with Alzheimer’s disease typically experience memory loss that disrupts daily life. They may forget important dates or events, ask for the same information over and over again, or increasingly rely on memory aids like notes and electronic reminders.

  1. Challenges with Planning & Problem-Solving

Making rare minor errors while managing household bills can be expected as your loved one ages. However, people with Alzheimer’s may find planning and solving problems quite difficult. They may struggle with tasks like following a recipe, paying bills, or creating a budget. 

Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks that require multiple steps can also signify the beginnings of cognitive decline.

  1. Difficulties Performing Familiar Tasks 

Completing familiar tasks like driving to a known location or remembering the rules of a favorite game can be a telltale sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Older adults with Alzheimer’s may also have difficulty with tasks that require manual dexterity, such as using a remote control or handling small objects.

  1. Confusion with Time or Place

Getting confused about the time or date may be a part of normal retirement or not tracking the calendar. If your loved one quickly recovers and can correct themselves, it’s likely a typical age-related change.

Those with Alzheimer’s can experience profound, sustained confusion and lose track of dates, seasons, or the passage of time. They may also forget where they are or how they got there.

  1. Disorientation in Visual & Spatial Awareness

As people with Alzheimer’s disease experience disorientation in visual and spatial awareness, they may have difficulty balancing or judging distances. Those with Alzheimer’s may also struggle with reading or identifying objects.

Older adults often struggle with vision changes that can cause problems with their visual skills, so it’s important to encourage them to get their eyesight checked regularly.

  1. Problems with Speaking or Writing

If your loved one has difficulty finding the right words to use in a sentence and struggles to maintain a conversation, that may be a sign of cognitive changes linked to Alzheimer’s. They may also forget simple words or substitute words that don’t make sense. This can extend beyond verbal problems, and they may also have difficulty with written communication, including spelling and grammar.

A senior woman with memory impairment symptoms storing her glasses in the fridge.
  1. Misplacing Objects

While it’s expected to misplace things occasionally, those with good cognitive function can retrace steps to find their phone, keys, or glasses. People with Alzheimer’s may misplace things and be unable to find them because they put objects in unusual places, and they may struggle to retrace their steps to find the missing item.

  1. Impaired Judgment

With cognitive decline, older adults may make poor decisions about money or become victims of fraud. Some adults with Alzheimer’s neglect their regular grooming or hygiene routines as well.

  1. Social Withdrawal

When older adults with Alzheimer’s disease can’t hold a conversation, are confused about what sports team they cheer for, or can’t engage in their favorite hobbies, they may become socially withdrawn. They may avoid social interactions or forget how to engage with others.

  1. Changes in Personality and Mood

Those with Alzheimer’s disease may experience changes in personality and mood. They may become suspicious, depressed, anxious, fearful, or irritable. Emotional and behavioral regulation can be more challenging with Alzheimer’s, and those with Alzheimer’s may feel upset more often than they did before.

What to Do If You Notice Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in Your Loved One

If you notice your loved one developing signs of Alzheimer’s, it’s normal to feel unsure. Their illness may be out of your control, but you can still help provide them with the support they need as their memory declines.

It’s important to remember that Alzheimer’s shares some of its symptoms with other conditions too. Speaking with your loved one directly about their needs can help you better understand what may be affecting them.

Talk to a Doctor or Specialist

If you suspect that your loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease, the first step you should take is to talk to a doctor or specialist. They will be able to provide a clear diagnosis. They may also be able to recommend memory care services that can help your loved one live a comfortable and happy life.

Start Planning for the Future

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, so it’s essential to start planning for the future early. Depending on the severity of your loved one’s condition, you should start thinking about various details for their future well-being, including finances, safety, and daily care. Working with a financial advisor or attorney can be helpful in this regard.

Get Your Loved One the Right Support

Alzheimer’s patients often need significant support from family members and caregivers. Make sure that your loved one is getting the support they need with the help of memory care. Communities like Fox Trail Memory Care strive to help maintain your loved one’s independence and provide quality experiences that include:

  • Fully furnished apartments
  • Cognitive support
  • Engaging activities to stimulate brain function
  • Strengthening exercises for mobility and balance

Visit Fox Trail Memory Care in Ramsey, NJ

Alzheimer’s disease can be a difficult diagnosis for your loved one and your family. Getting the proper support to accept and manage their illness can help tremendously. Fox Trail Memory Care can help your loved one maintain their quality of life and support your family as you navigate changes with your loved one.

Schedule a tour with us to learn more about memory care.

Ryan Donahue

Written by Ryan Donahue, Regional Vice President

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