When Memory Lane Disappears: 7 Early Signs of Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease
There are more than 44 million people worldwide living with some sort of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Are you worried about your memory or a loved one’s memory? About 5 percent of people with dementia develop symptoms before they turn 65.
Memory problems are known to be common as we age, but that doesn’t make them less heartbreaking. Look for these early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
1. Forgetting Relevant and Recent Events
It’s probably the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially early on. The person will start forgetting something that just happened. The person may start to forget things like relevant dates, events, and daily tasks.
The person will start relying more on family members for things he or she used to remember. It’s not uncommon for an older person to begin forgetting a few things like appointments or names, but typically, he will remember later.
2. Changes to Personality and Mood
It’s common as we age to get very specific in the ways we want to do things and to get irritable when that routine is interrupted. However, those with Alzheimer’s can start to change their mood and personalities. The person starts to become depressed, fearful, anxious, suspicious, and confused.
They can easily become upset when out of their comfort zone whether they are at work, home, or with friends. The person may want to stay at home more because of fear or depression.
3. Poor Choices and Decisions
It’s not uncommon for people to make bad decisions every once and a while, especially as they age. Some people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia will start making bad choices with things like money. Others start making bad choices with hygiene and stop grooming and keeping clean.
For example, someone with early symptoms of dementia may give large amounts of money away to telemarketers when they used to be frugal with their finances. If the person used to be clean and all of sudden starts to smell or look dirty, it’s time to start investigating.
4. Losing Track of Time
In addition to forgetting things that just happened, the person may start to forget where he is and how he got there. It’s not uncommon to forget what day of the week it is sometimes, but typically, someone without dementia can figure it out quickly. A person with dementia has a hard time understanding something that is not happening at the current moment.
A person with dementia starts losing track of the passage of time including dates and season. She may not remember how old she is and starts talking about the past like it is current.
5. Unable to Solve Problems
It’s normal for someone to need help from time to time on simple problems like recording a show. Someone with dementia can start to find it hard to solve daily tasks like driving to a known location, remembering rules, keeping track of monthly bills, and managing typical tasks at work.
A person with dementia may take longer to do simple tasks. It may hard for the person to complete simple math problems.
6. Withdrawing Socially
It’s not uncommon to sometimes feel weary of social obligations or work. Someone with dementia may start avoiding social situations and failing to finish work assignments. She may start removing herself from hobbies or other activities she used to enjoy.
A person with dementia may have trouble remembering how to do a favorite hobby, so he avoids being social because it is not as enjoyable.
7. Struggling to Hold a Conversation
Sometimes people struggle to find the right word when holding a conversation, but someone with dementia has a hard time following or joining a conversation. This person tends to repeat the same stories or start calling people by the wrong name.
The person may stop mid-conversation and have no idea what to say next. She may start calling items by the wrong name.
Is This Just Mild Cognitive Impairment?
If you notice a notable decline in just one area like memory or thinking skills, this could just be the onset of aging and not dementia. Mild cognitive impairment should not prevent a person from being socially active and completing everyday tasks.
Some people’s memory loss does not progress, so they do not get a wide range of dementia symptoms. It’s important to note any changes to the memory and watch for any progression. You should talk to your loved one’s doctor if you notice them struggling with something that used to be easy.
Other Causes of Memory Loss
There are other medical problems that could cause memory loss, but some of these are treatable. Here are some possible explanations for memory loss that can be reversed:
- Minor head traumas – even if the person didn’t lose consciousness
- Medications – a combination or certain medications can cause confusion
- Emotional disorders like depression, stress, and anxiety
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency- this vitamin maintains healthy nerve cells
- Alcoholism – or mixing alcohol with certain medications
- Hypothyroidism – an underactive thyroid can cause thinking problems
- Brain diseases – things like a brain tumor or an infection
When you first meet with a doctor, he or she will try to rule out any of these conditions. Make note of any medication changes before you visit the doctor.
After the doctor rules out any of these causes, it will be time to explore options for dementia care. This includes future plans like finding a memory care facility such as Seasons Memory Care.
Benefits of Recognizing the Early Signs of Dementia
People getting the onset of dementia may experience all of these symptoms or several. The severity of these symptoms varies. This is why it is important to recognize the early signs of dementia—to start treatment as soon as possible.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia. Starting treatment early can help maintain independence for a longer time. The person can also have a voice to plan his or her future before memory loss worsens.
If you are worried about your health, you should never wait to see what happens. Check out our website for women’s health advice like symptoms you should not ignore.