When lapses in memory began to affect your loved one more frequently, dementia could be to blame. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that leads to a slow decline in mental function impairing memory and reasoning abilities.
It can be difficult to discern early signs of Alzheimer’s from a “senior moment”. There are a variety of warning signs that accompany Alzheimer’s. Here are a few ways to help you determine a senior moment from dementia.
Memory Loss in Daily Activities
It is common for seniors to forget an appointment or name, but to later remember. When seniors begin to forget recently learned information or repeat the same information multiple times, dementia could be to blame. Memory loss should not affect daily activities.
Planning or Problem Solving Challenges
Occasional errors in balancing a checkbook are vastly different then loosing track of monthly bills or being unable to follow a recipe. Taking more time to complete tasks and difficulty concentrating can be an indicator of a more serious issue.
Difficulty with Familiar Tasks
Those battling Alzheimer’s can experience difficulty in performing routine tasks. A “senior moment” is needing assistance with electronics. Warning signs of Alzheimer’s include forgetting how to play favorite games or getting lost on the way to familiar places.
Not Understanding Visual Images
Vision problems can be a sign of Alzheimer’s in some cases, especially when the senior struggles to judge distance or determine colors and contrast. However, vision challenges due to cataracts are a typical issue that comes with age.
Loosing track of time or dates is another warning sign of the disease.
Many people struggling with Alzheimer’s also experience difficulty joining or finishing a conversation. Others may have problems calling objects by the correct name.
It is typical for seniors to occasionally misplace items. With Alzheimer’s disease the senior may place items in unusual places and struggle to retrace their steps when trying to locate objects. Accusing others of stealing and loosing objects will occur more frequently over time.
Issues in Judgment
When poor judgment making begins to happen more frequently, Alzheimer’s or dementia may be at fault.
Changes in Activity
It is common for a senior suffering with Alzheimer’s to become withdrawn from daily activities and becoming less social. The disease can also impact personalities, making seniors suspicious, depressed, confused and anxious. Being out of their comfort zone can be very upsetting.
While there are a variety of warning signs of Alzheimer’s, it is important that the condition be diagnosed by a doctor to rule out other conditions such as depression, drug interaction, thyroid issues or vitamin deficiencies. When consulting with your healthcare provider it is important to be honest about the changes the senior is experiencing.
Alzheimer’s can strike at any age, but is typically associated with seniors 65 and older. To find out more about the disease, warning signs, myths, treatment and support visit the Alzheimer’s Association at http://www.alz.org/.