Chances are, you have known or been close to someone with Alzheimer’s at some point in your life. As of 2020, nearly 6 million Americans suffer from the disease which impairs brain and memory function. An estimated 80 percent of these individuals are over the age of 75. As we age, some decline in cognitive function is normal and to be expected. However, there are certain signs that indicate abnormal decline and the possible presence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Memory Loss from Alzheimer’s
Memory loss is the hallmark symptom that is most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This type of memory loss is different than occasionally misplacing your keys or leaving your phone at home. Memory loss that can serve as an early indicator of Alzheimer’s develops to the point that it interferes with daily life. Those who suffer from it may increasingly need to rely on reminders from family members or by writing everything down. Unlike typical age-related memory decline, the information that someone from Alzheimer’s forgets does not come back to them.
Forgetting how to Complete Normal Tasks
If someone suddenly has trouble completing a routine task that they have done many times before, it could be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s. They may forget their route to a common destination, forget a recipe they’ve cooked countless times, or the rules to a favorite game.
Confusion with the Passage of Time
Patients with Alzheimer’s often have difficulty keeping track of time and dates. They may not realize how much time has passed or think that something that happened long ago just occurred recently. If you notice that a loved one is increasingly confused about the date or when things happened in time, it could be an early sign of the disease.
Changes in Visual and Spatial Understanding
Vision changes may become a problem for some Alzheimer’s patients. They may find that they have trouble focusing on the words to read or keeping their balance. Driving may also become problematic. This is different than visual changes that commonly affect older adults as the result of cataracts.
Trouble Speaking or Writing Coherently
Those with Alzheimer’s often struggle to coherently maintain their train of thought. They may forget what they were just saying or frequently repeat themselves. They could struggle to follow along with what they are reading or forget words that were previously common in their vocabulary.
If you suspect that your loved one may be suffering from early signs of Alzheimer’s, early intervention is critical. Seek medical guidance from a physician such as those at Lane Family Practice as soon as possible.