There is no precise line between what distinguishes normal aging tendencies and the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. A good idea is to check with a doctor should the suspected Alzheimer’s patient begin to vary from their basic behaviorisms, regular routines, or if their level of functioning seems to change. What are some regular signs that you can look for; when you suspect Alzheimer’s disease and how do you differentiate them from normal behavior? There are 8 different signs can help determine if a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease.
1. Memory Loss - Problems with the short-term memory and forgetting recently learned information is one of the more common, early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Unhappily, with normal aging, it’s also quite common to forget names or miss appointments on occasion. People with Alzheimer’s disease begin to forget more and more often and are unable to recall the information at a later date. Another good way to determine if this is Alzheimer’s related or simply a sign of aging is that it’s common for people to forget parts of events, whereas the Alzheimer’s patient will commonly forget the event in its entirety.
2. Difficulty Following Routines - Those suffering from dementia frequently finds it difficult to perform tasks should be familiar to them. What might have once been common routine now seems strangely alien. While it’s normal to forget why you’ve entered a room, or what it was that you intended to tell someone, people with dementia often lose track of steps in things that come as second nature, like dressing, preparing a meal, or the act of changing the channels on the television.
3. Problems With Language Or Numbers - People having dementia often find difficulty verbalizing their thoughts, forgetting words, or they substitute other words for what they mean. This often makes their speech and writing difficult to understand. Likewise, numbers also give them trouble, making it hard to figure out what the numbers are used for or finding they are unable to add up even the simplest of sums. A person who is suffering from Alzheimer’s may very well demand “the black thing” when referring to a comb, or “food” when they really want a drink.
4. Disorientation - This is a very common symptom of advanced dementia. People with Alzheimer’s disease have frequently become confused and lose track of time or are easily lost. They may get turned around in their own neighborhood and have no idea where they are. They may forget regular routes, like how to get to the grocery store, even if they have taken the same path for years.
5. Poor Judgment - Alzheimer’s patients tend to suffer from a poor or, at least decreased, sense of judgment. They may not dress warm enough for a cold winter’s day, or they may put on layers and layers of clothing to go take a walk on a hot summer’s day. They easily fall victim to scam artists and telemarketers, and may even try to give large sums of money away to televangelists, charities, or the homeless man on the street, leaving them with no money to live. While all people may, at one time or another, make doubtful or questionable decisions from time to time, the Alzheimer’s patient will commonly fall victim to colossal blunders if they are not carefully watched.
6. Misplacing Things – It is not uncommon to misplace one’s keys, sometimes losing track of an item almost as soon as you set it down. The Alzheimer’s patient, however, takes this to a new extreme, often misplacing the items in a strange place, such as putting a toothbrush in the freezer, or storing a favorite diamond ring in the sugar bowl… with the sugar.
7. Mood Swings or Changes in Personality - These are common in a person that is suffering from dementia. In the beginning stages, Alzheimer’s patients are often easily frustrated by lapses in memory, or angered by the helplessness that they feel. As the disease progresses, the anger can become mingled with confusion and fear, especially when one begins losing their grasp on familiar faces and their surroundings.
8. Loss of Motivation and Initiative - It’s not uncommon for a person to be tired after a busy day at work, but a person who has Alzheimer’s disease may have a stronger tendency to become more disinterested in their surroundings, and more passive. They may spend hours sitting in the living room alone, content to spend all their time alone, just watching the television. Some Alzheimer’s patients sink into depressions and refuse to even leave their room or beds.
In order to protect yourself or a loved one, know the warning signs and, should you detect them, be sure to contact your doctor immediately. The key to attempting to beat Alzheimer’s disease is to receive an early diagnosis for getting appropriate treatment and care, enlisting the help of support services and caregivers. When in doubt, talk to your physician.
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