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Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is progressively degenerative. Unfortunately, there is no cure. While the cause of Alzheimer’s might stem from genetics, environmental, and lifestyle factors, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimates that one in nine seniors aged 65 and over have Alzheimer’s, or over 6 million Americans. Also, Alzheimer’s is the seventh leading cause of death today. That being said, recognizing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is essential to coping with your journey.

Recognizing the Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Every patient has an individual course with Alzheimer’s. While symptoms may be similar to others with Alzheimer’s, the duration, frequency, and prevalence can differ. Journaling the process is a great way to compare differences. In addition, journaling can provide a precise timeline available for review.  The most common early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are as follows. Memory lapses or forgetfulness interfere with day-to-day functions such as:

  • Important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays
  • Doctor and dentist appointments
  • The names of familiar people
  • Asking the same question over and over
  • Reliance on alarms and reminder notes for simple everyday functions

If your loved one is having difficulty finding the right words, ask yourself the following questions to help determine if this is happening:

  • Does your loved one stop talking mid-sentence?
  • Has your loved one stopped participating in the conversation?
  • Does your loved one misname everyday objects?
  • Does your loved one need help to find the correct name for things?

Watch for Changes in Personality

Distinct changes in mood or personality can be a powerful sign of decline. Your loved one is aware that their brain is not working as it once did. Of all the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, this change can cause intense feelings of frustration, anxiety, and anger and trigger depression. In addition, this change can cause your loved one to withdraw from social activities.

Struggles with Abstract Thinking and Familiar Tasks

Struggles begin with abstract thinking, issues with complex information, and solving problems in everyday life. Balancing a checkbook, dealing with emails, problems with household appliances, or car issues can become daunting and one of the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Difficulties in completing familiar tasks is another factor to watch.

Disorientation and Impairment in Judgment

Disorientation behaviors are difficulties in remembering how to get to familiar destinations and an inability to name the present location occurs. Frequently misplaces items, like the television remote, car keys, or wallet. Lastly, impairment in judgment is another of the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Personal hygiene neglect, dressing inappropriately, or partaking in activities that are not normal can reflect a red flag.

The Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Over time, the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s worsen to a mild decline. Unfortunately, not all Alzheimer’s patients decline in the same way or timeline. There will be good days and challenging days to cope with. Alzheimer’s is an unpredictable disease. Uncertainty makes it challenging to monitor, care for and predict the future of Alzheimer’s patients. The following are stages of Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • Normal behavior: Preclinical Alzheimer’s with no particular symptoms
  • Very Mild Changes: The early signs and symptoms
  • Mild Decline: Family and friends are more alerted to changes. Consistent short-term memory, organization skills, language deficits, and avoidance behaviors in social situations are standard. During this stage, the healthcare provider can establish a diagnosis.
  • Moderate Decline: Early signs and symptoms escalate to a higher level. Self-management and care are no longer possible. They are wandering and unable to judge what day it is or where they are present. Depression and anxiety can develop. Suspicions and fears of caretakers can grow.
  • Moderately Severe Decline: Loved ones cannot live independently and require placement in a specialized memory care program or with a full-time caregiver. Difficulties with familiar faces and names. Emotional outbursts occur without provocation. Paranoia can also develop.
  • Severe Decline: Inability to manage basic life-sustaining activities, difficulty speaking, increased restlessness, verbal and physical outbursts, and a further decline in orientation and recognizing caretakers and family.
  • Very Severe Decline: Final stage requires around-the-clock care. Limited vocabulary, muteness, no control of facial expressions, inability to walk, joints become rigid, presenting difficulties in bending arms and legs. Pneumonia, bedsores, and mobility-related problems are common.

Learning the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s is an essential first step in establishing care for your loved one. There is much to learn, but you are not alone. Many others are learning and caring for their loved ones with the same disease. Start making a care plan for your loved one.

Find Help with Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s in Nashville

Experienced and caring communities are available for your loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. For example, Lux Home Care in Nashville, TN, offers assistance in planning for your loved one’s needs in coping with Alzheimer’s. Our compassionate and patient staff understands the difficulty of caring for this special population. Contact us today.

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