Alzheimer’s and dementia can be scary words to a family who is potentially entering a new, unknown season in life. There are a great many things to consider, especially once the realization begins to hit home that a loved one isn’t just “getting more forgetful” as she or he gets older. With this in mind, in today’s post we will be looking at ten early signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you or your loved one is considering looking into treatment and care services, please consult your physician for a complete expert opinion.
They exhibit forgetfulness. We aren’t talking about just the odd name or date, but actual people and experience which have made up the fabric of their lives. Or perhaps you’ve just noticed a late payment notice from too long ago, or can’t even follow a simple recipe. You probably have heard of this symptom before, but it is certainly important to highlight because it is so common.
Really any type of behavioral change needs to be noticed in people of age, and law breaking certainly applies to that. This is one sign of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), which is another progressively damaging illness that afflicts adults typically around age 45-65. This area of the brain is associated with decision-making, which explains why people’s moral compass can be altered by this disorder.
Not Remembering The Function Of Objects
Forgetting your wallet is one thing, but forgetting what your wallet is for is something else altogether, and may be a sign that it is time to start considering dementia care on some level. If you or your loved one is struggling to remember, say, what the tv remote does, it might be time to have some difficult conversations. But remember, ignoring the problem will not make it go away.
Trouble With Sarcasm
One sign that it may be time to consider a form of in-home care for Alzheimer’s patients is the inability to distinguish sarcasm from earnestness. If your loved one has been taking things more literally than usual, or perhaps it takes way too long for the intent of the statement to register, this might be a sign of atrophy in the brain. In fact, research has shown that Alzheimer’s patients show the inability to recognize sarcasm in face-to-face situations. This is more of a pattern than a one off, however, so we wouldn’t recommend going around diagnosing the elderly simply because they missed a punch line or two.
If the person in question begins to show signs of depression, they are over fifty years old, and have never really dealt with depression before, it could mean early-onset dementia to some degree. However, it’s helpful to make the distinction between causation and correlation in cases like these. This doesn’t mean that if you get diagnosed with depression it will necessarily lead to Alzheimer’s or dementia, but rather depression can be a symptom of a root issue.
Trying To Eat The Wrong Things
Patients tend to increase their daily caloric intake before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but still typically lose more weight than they can keep on. Some may actually attempt to eat inedible objects, because the brain is reacting to hunger signals but is unable to find an appropriate solution.
Once someone reaches a certain age, the occasional fall isn’t considered atypical. The truth is that sometimes it can come with the territory of getting up there. In a study of 125 elderly adults, subjects were asked to track how often she or he fell in an eight-month span. Researchers found a correlation (not cause) between falls and the early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. It may be time to consult your physician for professional help if you or your loved one has been falling without any apparent physical causes.
If the person in question has become a pack rat lately, or even exhibiting compulsive and nonsensical behaviors, consulting a physician about dementia care options may be in order. For example, if someone has developed the odd ritual of buying a newspaper every day but they never read it, that may signal early onset dementia.
This may seem like a bit obvious to some of our readers, but the general decrease of physical movement, namely walking speed, may be a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies have found a link between “brain plaque” known as beta-amyloid and a decreased walking speed, by a difference of up to 9 percent.
Mood Swings And Irritability
It’s quite common for someone with Alzheimer’s to suffer mood swings and increased anxiety or agitation. Moving around and pacing, fixating on superfluous details, or even getting emotionally triggered by certain environments are all issues of which you should be wary. In some situations, getting placed in an uncomfortable circumstance (difficult for anyone mind you) can provoke agitation and severe mood swings.
Seniors Helping Seniors
One such example of the above point is the nursing home. It is for this reason that Seniors Helping Seniors exists, to promote the autonomy and comfort of our clients by providing an independent living solution through home care assistance. Assisted living is sometimes a great alternative for someone considering their dementia care options. It can be an effective happy medium which provides experienced care from an elderly peer, but the client can still stay in their own comfort zone for as long as they are able. In this challenging time, please don’t forget that we are here to help and only a phone call away.