While you don’t want to ponder the unthinkable happening to you or your spouse, any good Boy Scout will tell you that it pays to be prepared. That is why it is important for even the healthiest retiree to educate themselves on the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
One important thing is to understand the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Alzheimer’s is a disease, while Dementia refers to a set of symptoms, including, according to the Mayo Clinic, language difficulty, loss of recent memory or poor judgment.
Memory Loss – We can all be forgetful sometimes, and memory loss can happen in the aging process. But serious memory loss that affects your way of life is NOT normal. And don’t just brush it off if someone forgets the name of someone in his or her life one day but remembers the next. Memory loss can come and go day by day.
Loss of Motor Skills – Patients can often develop numbness in their limbs, which makes it difficult for them to complete tasks that require fine motor skills.
Making Odd Decisions – According to health.com, “The earliest changes in judgment usually involve money. So people who were normally very cautious with their finances will start spending in unusual ways, like giving money to unworthy strangers like telemarketers, or withholding money they should pay, because they incorrectly believe their utility company is suddenly untrustworthy.” Be on the lookout for odd behaviors that seem out of character and changes in mood and personality, including withdrawing from things you or your loved one enjoys.
Difficulty Completing Tasks – Daily tasks can become a struggle to those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. They may be unable to remember how to do things that were second nature to them or be able to complete them but in much slower a time period.
Anger and Mood Swings – Alzheimer’s is a frustrating disease to anyone it touches, and it can lead to a person feeling frustrated and lashing out. Confusion about what is happening can cause them to be on edge and have high levels of anxiety.
Difficulty with Distance, Color, Etc. – Some Alzheimer’s patients over or underestimate the distance between two objects and show difficulty distinguishing differences in color. They can also get easily confused with times.
Losing Things, Including Themselves – Patients often find themselves misplacing items. And health.com also says, “Unfortunately, about 60% of people with dementia have a tendency to walk off, wander aimlessly, and become lost, often repeatedly.”
Loss of Ability to Take Care of Themselves – Someone with early Alzheimer’s may not make it to the bathroom or remember to eat or bathe.
There are MANY other signs of Alzheimer’s, and many can also be signs of other issues. If you notice any of these signs in you or a loved one, be sure to see a doctor. Our medical offices are open to Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community residents at all times, helping you diagnose and manage difficult diseases such as Alzheimer’s. To schedule an appointment at our medical offices, call, X8480, or call X8496 for our community nurse.