If you have aging loved ones, or if you yourself are more than 60 years old, it’s crucial to know how to recognize early signs of Alzheimer’s. The earlier you seek help, the better you’ll be able to manage this disease, and the higher your quality of life will be.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, cognitive function, and behavior. It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 60%-80% of dementia cases.

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age. While the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, younger people also can develop this disease.

Alzheimer’s gradually impairs memory, thinking, and the ability to carry out daily activities, eventually leading to the need for full-time care.

Early Signs of Alzheimer’s to Look For

Here are the early signs of Alzheimer’s that you should be aware of and look for:

1. Memory Loss

Forgetting recently learned information or important dates and events. Behavioral signs of memory loss include repeatedly asking for the same information or relying on memory aids.

2. Difficulty with Familiar Tasks

Struggling to complete routine tasks that were once familiar — such as cooking a meal or managing finances.

3. Disorientation

Getting lost in familiar places, confusion about the time, date, or location, or difficulty understanding spatial relationships.

4. Challenges in Problem-Solving and Planning

Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or following a plan. This may manifest as problems with managing finances or completing tasks at work.

5. Language Problems

Difficulty finding the right words, following or joining a conversation, or repeating oneself. Individuals may struggle with vocabulary or have trouble following written or spoken instructions.

6. Changes in Mood or Personality

Mood swings, irritability, or changes in personality and behavior. This could include becoming more withdrawn, suspicious, or anxious.

7. Misplacing Items

Putting things in unusual places and being unable to retrace steps to find them. This may involve frequently losing items like keys or glasses.

When to Seek Memory Care

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. While occasional memory lapses are common, persistent or worsening symptoms could indicate a more serious issue.

Memory care may be warranted in the following circumstances:

  • Symptoms Interfere with Daily Life. If memory loss and cognitive decline significantly interfere with daily activities — such as work, social interactions, or self-care — it may be time to consider memory care options.
  • Safety Concerns Arise. Safety becomes a concern when individuals forget to turn off appliances, neglect personal hygiene, or wander and become lost. Memory care settings provide a secure environment with trained staff to ensure the safety of residents.
  • Family Caregivers Experience Burnout. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be emotionally and physically exhausting. If family caregivers experience burnout or find it challenging to meet the increasing care needs, memory care can provide professional support and respite.

Other Considerations if You Recognize Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

Here are a few other things to consider if you recognize the early signs of Alzheimer’s in yourself or a loved one:

Early Diagnosis and Treatment

Early diagnosis allows for the implementation of interventions to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and improve quality of life. If you suspect Alzheimer’s, don’t delay in consulting a healthcare professional for an evaluation.

Planning for the Future

It’s essential to discuss long-term care plans and legal and financial matters early on, while the individual with Alzheimer’s can still participate in decision-making.

Support Networks

Seek out support networks, such as Alzheimer’s associations, support groups, and educational resources, to connect with others facing similar challenges and access valuable information and assistance.

Recognizing the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease is crucial for timely intervention and support. By understanding the symptoms and knowing when to seek memory care, individuals and their families can navigate the journey with greater awareness and preparedness.

Again, if you have concerns about yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice and explore available resources and support options.

And if/when you’re ready to explore memory care in a residential care facility like Crest View Adult Family Home, we invite you to stop by for a cup of coffee and a tour.

Click here to schedule a visit.