It’s not uncommon for your memory to decline a bit as you age, but significant memory loss – especially if it disrupts daily life – may be a symptom of something more serious. Alzheimer’s primarily affects individuals who are 60 years old or older, but occasionally, it occurs in younger individuals. This form of dementia leads to a decline in memory, learning and reasoning skills
Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
If you have concerns about a loved one’s memory or cognitive abilities, then you will want to know the 10 warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Changes in Mood or Personality
When an individual has a major change in personality or mood, it can indicate that the brain’s synapses are changing. Someone who was quiet and polite may become loud and rude. An individual who liked to stay home to work in a garden may begin to go out – and not always to the safest places.
Isolating Too Much
While some individuals are introverts, if these individuals are isolating too much, then a medical checkup is a good idea. Severe isolation that includes staying at home for several months without going to the supermarket or to social activities outside the home can mean that someone is developing emotional issues that are common during dementia.
Using Poor Judgment
Using poor judgment is a primary symptom that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and it often involves making bad decisions about finances. An older person may become more gullible to scammers who visit a home to sell repair services or to a telemarketer who is trying to access bank accounts.
Some individuals with dementia become highly disorganized at work or at home. This can lead to having a messy environment with stacks of dirty dishes or laundry, but it can also manifest with the inability to find important things such as the keys for a vehicle or important documents.
Loss of Written or Spoken Words
Others may notice that an older individual is having problems carrying on a conversation because the person is losing words. Rather than using a word for something, the individual may describe the object instead. This issue may also occur in an individual’s writing, making a letter or a document impossible to comprehend.
Vision or Spatial Abnormalities
Spatial or vision abnormalities that are not correctable with eyeglasses or surgery can indicate that an individual is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The perception of colors may change, or the individual may have problems with judging distance. This can lead to problems while driving a vehicle or walking, causing an accident.
Loss of Time
An individual with dementia may lose track of time, leading to forgetting important appointments. The poor perception of time can also include forgetting that it is winter or forgetting what month it is.
Unable to Complete Daily Tasks
Some older individuals will forget how to perform daily tasks at home, including how to cook food, wash dishes or care for a pet. This is a dangerous symptom because the older person may forget to turn the stove’s burner off while preparing a meal, leading to a fire.
Inability to Solve Problems
Solving problems that occur each day is part of daily living, but an individual with Alzheimer’s disease is unable to cope with changes. In addition to an inability to work with numbers, other types of problems become unsolvable.
Dangerous Memory Lapses
An individual with Alzheimer’s disease will begin to have dangerous memory lapses, including forgetting home addresses, adult children’s names or what a stop sign means. As more memories are lost, an individual with dementia is at a higher risk of having other health issues.
How a Medical Alert System Can Help
All of these symptoms can lead to an individual wandering off, getting lost or not arriving when and where they are supposed to be. A GPS-enabled medical alert system can allow them to get help when and where they need it. Using our Medical Alert Connect app, caregivers can keep track of where their loved ones are as well.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, please visit www.alz.org.