If caught in the early stages, there are more treatment possibilities available to those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Being able to recognize the early warning signs, makes it possible to get a loved one the proper care needed before symptoms progress. Signs of Alzheimer’s can often be confused with normal signs of aging. Which is why we suggest knowing how to recognize the warning signs before jumping to conclusions.
When trying to determine if a loved one is starting to show signs of Alzheimer’s it is important to keep track of what is observed from day-to-day. Observations can include actions, conversations and activities the individual participates in regularly. Here are some early warning signs of Alzheimer’s:
- Daily routines are disrupted by memory loss
- Experiencing challenges with planning
- Decline in cognitive thinking and abilities
- Having difficulty with familiar tasks
- Confusion with time and/or place
- Difficulty with spatial relationships and visual images (known as agnosia)
- Problems with speaking and understanding language (known as aphasia)
- Misplacing things more than normal
- Inability to retrace steps
- Poor judgment
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Continual changes in mood and/or personality, including signs of hostility and depression
- Behavior issues
- Experiencing sundowning, meaning behavioral issues get worse in the late afternoon and evening hours of the day
- Difficulty with basic motor skills (known as aprazia)
- Experiencing strong emotional responses to minor problems
- Psychosis – recurring hallucinations and/or delusions
What to do
If there are any concerns a loved one is experiencing any of the above listed warning signs, it might be necessary to see his or her physician. The doctor will be able to offer a proper diagnosis after a full day of evaluations. In most cases, this is done on an outpatient basis, making it possible to keep the loved one in the comfort of his or her own home.
Make sure to ask the doctor what diagnostic procedures will be used to determine if the patient is suffering from Alzheimer’s. If the evaluation process does not sound comprehensive enough, it might be necessary to seek assistance from a different physician.
If a family member is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in the Duluth, Minneapolis, or Bemidji areas, let us here are HealthStar Home Health help. We can help loved ones continue living lives as independently as possible. Learn more about our comprehensive Alzheimer’s program, Becoming an Alzheimer’s Whisperer.