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Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s You Should Know

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Identifying early signs of dementia may result in the best opportunities for treatment, support and planning for the future. There are signs an individual and the loved ones can look for that can help individuals and family members recognize the beginnings of dementia. If you have concerns about any of the following possibilities, encourage your loved one to see a doctor so treatment can begin as soon as possible. Although this disease has no cure, there are treatments that can manage the symptoms for many years.

Difficulties with everyday events. Be aware of forgetfulness on everyday issues such as important dates, events, names and repeating the same information. Watch for a close family member who protects the potentially afflicted individual, corrects them, provides them with cue words during conversations.

Difficulties completing complex tasks. Watch for issues when preparing an old recipe, paying monthly bills, completing tasks that used to be routine. Notice if there are problems staying on task, length of time to complete normal activities.

Difficulties with Familiar Routines. Look out for difficulties completing everyday tasks such as housework, making grocery lists, managing the budget. Also, be cognizant of driving issues that may arise. Take a ride with your loved one to make sure they remember where they are going and how to get there.

Difficulties identifying known locations and dates. Watch for signs that indicate non-understanding of meaningful dates such as birthdays long celebrated, the time for daily meals and celebrated holidays.

Difficulties with speech and with writing. Take note if your loved one has problems following a conversation or participating in a conversation. Note if they stop speaking mid-conversation and are unable to continue the thought. Also pay attention to word selection, are they having difficulty finding the correct word?

Difficulties locating items and inability to repeat actions. Pay attention to the location your loved one places items, note if your loved one places items in unusual places. If an item is “lost” can the loved one locate the item or do they become frustrated looking for the item or do they give up looking? These are all signs that can be attributed to early onset dementia which may lead to Alzheimer’s.

As people age, many of these symptoms occur. However, when these items become the norm, there is a potential problem.

Difficulties in judgment. Making decisions that are not in character. Example, giving away large sums of money, in contradiction to past gifts. Giving away personal treasures in contradiction to past gifts. Not attending to daily personal hygiene, not taking a shower, not brushing hair or donning proper clothes.

 Difficulties in social activities. Loss of interest in family gatherings, vacations and social activities. Avoiding grocery shopping, spiritual events and eating out. If your loved one is still in the workforce, watch for lack of attention to work projects and proper grooming for work activities.

To obtain additional information on this and other topics affecting seniors, call our office today to schedule an appointment.