It can be difficult to tell the difference between normal forgetfulness and the early stages of Alzheimer's or dementia. The most significant symptoms are cognitive impairments that prevent someone from performing normal daily tasks.
Difficulty with Location or Time:
Warning Signs and Symptoms
Many individuals with Alzheimer's have difficulty keeping track of time and can easily lose track of time.
In more advanced stages, individuals can have difficulty telling whether it is day or night.
They may confuse how long ago a certain event occurred or how long they have been in a certain location.
Lifestyle and Personality Changes:
Many of the the difficulties associated with Alzheimer's can lead to a withdrawal from once pleasurable activities: sports, hobbies, or social gatherings.
These withdrawals can lead to a less energetic or even a depressed individual.
If an individual appears to be withdrawing from once enjoyable activities it is important to discuss why they have stopped. It could be for many reasons, but if they are due to cognitive difficulties they may be suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's or dementia.
Disruptive Memory Loss:
The most well-known symptom of Alzheimer's is memory loss. The type of memory loss associated with Alzheimer's is marked by difficulty remembering recently learned information, known as short-term memory loss.
Symptoms of short term memory loss include forgetting important information like:
appointments, doctor's visits, or meetings
where they placed belongings,
memorable dates (birthdays, holidays)
The disruption caused by short-term memory loss can understandably cause confusion and frustration.
The inability to perform typical tasks like driving or walking to a familiar location, following a recipe, or managing finances are all major symptoms of Alzheimer's or another memory disorder.
Alzheimer's is a progressive, degenerative disorder and if left untreated symptoms will worsen.
However, recent advances have created hope for Alzheimer's patients. With treatment, it is often possible to stop, improve, or at least slow its development.