This September is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and the perfect time to spread knowledge about the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. Many of them are indistinguishable from the standard effects of ageing, such as loss of mobility, decreased eyesight and memory loss; if they become more persistent or severe however then it could be an early sign of dementia. With one in fourteen people over 65 suffering from the disease in the UK, it’s vital to be able to recognise the symptoms early. Here we cover ten early symptoms of Alzheimer’s that you may not always be able to identify.
1. Memory loss
Occasionally forgetting people’s names or something you were supposed to do is normal, especially if you recall it later. However, not being able to remember the names of people who are close to you – such as your children or your partner – could be a sign that something more serious is causing memory loss.
2. Difficulty completing everyday tasks
Cooking, cleaning and running errands are activities that may become tiresome for older people, but for people with Alzheimer’s they can be a serious challenge. For example, they may end up never washing their clothes because they can’t understand how to use their washing machine.
3. Becoming disoriented
When someone can’t figure out where they are or how they got there, they are experiencing disorientation. Many seniors might feel disoriented if they are in a busy public place, or they might forget what day of the week it is, but for people with Alzheimer’s, this can be as severe as not knowing where they are even when they’re at home or thinking they live in a different decade.
4. Misplacing things, often in strange places.
Everyone loses things – we all know someone who constantly misplaces their wallet or keys. However, people living with Alzheimer’s may start putting things in entirely the wrong place – like the newspaper in the refrigerator or their glasses under the sink. They may also accuse other people of stealing or hiding their belongings when this happens.
5. Vision problems
Presbyopia is the medical term for deteriorating eyesight caused by ageing, leading to an inability to focus clearly on close objects. It’s a natural ageing process and the reason why many seniors use reading glasses. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s can cause a range of problems, such as misjudging distances or difficulty determining colours. Sometimes people with Alzheimer’s can also have difficulty finding an object if it’s surrounded by other objects of a similar colour.
6. Difficulty following instructions or reading numbers
Some people with Alzheimer’s will find that understanding numbers become difficult, or they might struggle following a list of instructions. While many people can make small errors in calculations or with money, not being able to read a clock or dial a phone number should be a cause for concern.
7. Not being able to find the right words
It’s quite common for seniors to forget the odd word, but using the wrong word for something or taking a long time to find the right words is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s. This can also result in the person affected using odd phrases or not being able to form sentences, which can cause bad moods or irritability.
8. Making poor decisions
We all make mistakes occasionally, but people with Alzheimer’s will be likely to make serious errors in judgement over time. Often these decisions are related to finances, such as buying expensive things they don’t need or handing over all their savings to a person they don’t know.
9. Personality changes
A lot of people dislike change, and it’s common to get set in a routine. However, it’s not so normal to have frequent anger outbursts or to be inexplicably sad. The changes in the brain that happen as Alzheimer’s progresses not only have an impact on mood but also inhibition – so they may end up saying things which are unusually hurtful or offensive.
10. Withdrawing from social life
The multitude of problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease can make the person affected feel low, or they could end up lacking confidence. This in turn often results in them withdrawing from activities and social events they would typically enjoy. While many seniors might stop doing activities because they are tired or lack mobility, if they withdraw completely or seem anxious in social situations it could be a cause for concern.
Better Healthcare: home care for seniors and those living with dementia
For many, simple tasks such as washing and getting dressed can become increasingly difficult with age. Dementia can (and often will) make an already challenging life even harder. This is where Better Healthcare Services can help; we provide quality home care across the country for people who can’t manage as well as they used to. For those who need 24/7 care, we also offer live-in services.
At Better Healthcare Services we are always ready to give people with dementia extra support. For more information on our dementia live-in or home care services, call us today on 0800 668 1234.