As friends and loved ones age, the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia becomes greater. The prospect of seeing someone we love lose their sense of self is a frightening one. And it can lead us to scrutinize every interaction and instance of “It’s on the tip of my tongue but I just can’t remember…” to see if there are portents of these fearful ailments.
We’ve laid out five early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia below. But it’s imperative not to overvalue isolated incidents. Sustained patterns and behaviors tell a story; isolated incidents are often just that. But if you’re unsure, you can always call the Princeton Health Care Center here in Princeton, WV. As experienced dementia care providers, we can offer insight and advice.
Deviation from Established Behaviors
As Alzheimer’s takes hold, it becomes difficult to follow step-by-step instructions, even if your loved one memorized them long ago. Things to look out for include your loved one getting lost going to or from someplace they’ve traveled for years, such as the grocery store, the pharmacy, or a friend’s house. Recipes can often become difficult to follow as well, even for classic dishes your loved one is known for.
Difficulty Learning New Things
Just as Alzheimer’s takes aim at old knowledge, it also makes committing new knowledge to memory a difficult prospect. However, it’s important to provide a word of caution here. Learning new things gets more difficult as we age even absent dementia. If your loved one is having trouble grasping the workings of the voice-activated smart device you got them, cut them some slack. But if you find yourself explaining simple things like a loved one’s new phone number over and over, this could be indicative of Alzheimer’s.
Changes in Short-Term Memory
Alzheimer’s attacks the short-term memory first. So even though your loved one may be able to recount every detail of a Thanksgiving dinner that took place decades earlier, more recent memories may keep slipping. Your loved one may lose track of where they placed things only moments ago, or stop halfway to a room because they forgot what they were going in there for. Again, this happens to us all from time to time, but if it becomes a pattern, take note.
Anger and Frustration
Personality changes can be some of the surest signs of Alzheimer’s. As your loved one grows more confused and Alzheimer’s begins to make everyday life more difficult, you may find them becoming more and more agitated. Early on, your loved one may have the sense that they’re forgetting things, but they’re not quite sure what they’re forgetting, leading to fear and panic.
This anger, fear, and confusion many times leads to withdrawal. You may notice that your loved one is turning down invitations, seeing friends less, and calling less often. There’s often a feeling of shame or embarrassment that accompanies the cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s. There may also be a fear that others will notice their symptoms. All of this can lead to increasing isolation.
Princeton Health Care Center is well-equipped to provide Alzheimer’s care. Call us today at 304-487-3458 to learn more.