More than 5 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers are also significantly affected by this debilitating condition. While there have been a lot of improvements in treating Alzheimer’s disease developed over the last decade, the most effective use of medication comes when it is diagnosed in the early stages.
Many family caregivers believe that memory loss is the only sign or symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. While that is a significant one, there is more to it than just being forgetful. Specific patterns in memory, cognition, and recall can raise red flags for caregivers and make it more difficult to just write off those little incidences as typical of old age. The more educated that family caregivers are in looking for signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the sooner their elderly relatives can get diagnosed and begin treatment.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease:
It’s not unusual for seniors to become forgetful due to stress, depression, anxiety or just having a bad day. Significant memory issues go beyond forgetting someone’s name or missing a step in a recipe. If caregivers notice their elderly relative is repeating questions, growing more confused or forgetting something that just happened, it could be early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease affects a person’s ability to make good judgments about their health, safety, finances and more. Seniors may change how they manage their money, such as spending recklessly or hoarding it by not paying bills. Other examples include trying to drive when they aren’t permitted to, skipping hygiene habits or engaging in reckless behavior.
-Lack of Problem-solving Skills
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease are often no longer able to complete multi-step tasks such as follow a recipe, follow driving directions or assemble something according to instructions. They may even be able to do such tasks but it takes them a longer time to do so.
Everyone misplaces their keys now and then, but seniors that struggle with Alzheimer’s disease lose important or often-used items frequently. They are often found in unusual places, such as in the freezer or in the garbage can. Those with Alzheimer’s disease also struggle with retracing their steps to problem-solve where they may have left the item.
-Irritability and Anxiety
Seniors can experience mood swings and changes in their personality as they struggle with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s more common for them to become agitated or irritable, especially when their schedule changes. Caregivers may see an increase in atypical moods such as fear, worry, frustration, anger, fatigue, and anxiety.
It’s important for family caregivers to recognize which actions and behaviors are simply typical results of aging and being human and which ones are warning signs that the elderly relative may be in the early or mid-stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The sooner they are diagnosed, the sooner they can begin treatment.
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Medical Professionals On Call has such a caring, professional staff who are available to step in with whatever level of care necessary for loved ones and to relieve you of that stress.