Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that slowly damages and destroys brain cells. It is the most common cause of dementia. Early signs and symptoms can be difficult to detect, and they may vary from person to person. By knowing the signs of this common disease, you can ensure that the seniors in your life receive the care they need as quickly as possible.
What Causes Alzheimer's?
The cause of Alzheimer's is unknown, and it is thought to be the result of a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. It affects parts of the brain that control memory, language, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. In time, these areas can become damaged, leading to cognitive decline. The disease mostly affects seniors, and it's important to understand the early signs of Alzheimer's.
Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer's is a complex disorder, and symptoms can vary depending on the person. However, there are a few common denominators that you can keep an eye out for. Common early signs of Alzheimer's include:
Memory Loss. One of the most well-known symptoms of Alzheimer's is memory loss. This can manifest in forgetting names, places, and events that were once familiar or easily recalled. The person may also have difficulty forming new memories or recalling recent conversations. Alzheimer's often affects short term memory, which is why a patient may repeat stories or ask the same questions. They may not be able to recognize close friends and loved ones or mistake them for other people.
Changes in Mood and Personality. Alzheimer's often affects behavior and moods, even in its earliest stages. The person might become easily confused, suspicious of others, or display shifts in their personality or emotions. They may also have difficulty understanding jokes and be withdrawn from social situations. If your loved one is showing any of these changes in personality, they may need to be evaluated by a medical professional.
Difficulty Planning and Problem Solving. Alzheimer's can make it difficult for the person to plan or solve problems. This might manifest in forgetting how to do simple tasks or becoming overwhelmed when faced with a new task, even one that would have been easily completed prior to diagnosis. They may also struggle to follow directions or focus on a task, quickly becoming distracted.
Poor Judgment. As the disease progresses, you may notice that your loved one is making poor decisions and displaying a lack of judgment. They might forget to pay bills, or make other financial errors, or engage in risky behavior without understanding the consequences. This is why it's important to monitor their finances and decision-making process if they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. However, be sure to avoid making your loved one feel like you don't trust them, as this can be very damaging to their self-esteem.
Wandering and Getting Lost. As Alzheimer's gets worse, it can become harder for the individual to remember where they are or how they got there. This can lead to instances of wandering, where the person may leave the house and get lost. If your loved one seems confused about their location, it's important to stay with them at all times and make sure that you have a plan in place for how to respond if they wander away.
Anxiety or Aggression. As Alzheimer's progresses, the person may become more anxious or aggressive. They might start to express fear or frustration and lash out at those around them, even if they had no prior history of doing so. If your loved one is exhibiting signs of aggression, talk to their doctor about how best to address it in a safe and supportive way. Aggressively acting out could cause your loved one to injure themselves by accident, so it's important to treat them with respect and care.
While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, there are treatments available to help slow the progression of the disease. Medications can be prescribed to help mitigate some of the common symptoms, such as memory loss and changes in mood. It is also important to stay active and engaged in activities that stimulate the brain, such as puzzles or reading. Exercise and proper nutrition are also essential for managing the symptoms of Alzheimer's.
Remember that Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, and it is likely that your loved one will require more attention and care as their condition worsens. Knowing the early signs and symptoms of the disease can help you recognize when it might be time to seek professional medical advice.
Contact BrightStar Care Today
Early detection of Alzheimer’s is key for providing the best care and treatment plan. If you notice any of these signs in a loved one, it's important to speak with their doctor so they can get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment right away. At BrightStar Care, we provide high quality care for seniors suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Our compassionate team is committed to providing the best care for your loved one, helping them live their life to the fullest. Contact us today to learn more about our services.