Considerable’s recent article entitled “These are the 10 Alzheimer’s signs to watch out for, provides a list of symptoms but cautions that it’s important to note that every one of these 10 symptoms can be applied to other problems. The Alzheimer’s Association explains that there are 10 warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease of which older adults should be aware. However, it’s also important to remember that for every one of these 10 symptoms of Alzheimer’s, there is also a typical age-related change that is not indicative of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you see any of these warning signs, don’t ignore them, especially if they’re impacting your life dramatically. See your doctor. (And, of course, an elder law attorney!)
- Memory loss that upsets daily life. If you’re experiencing significant memory loss that’s interrupting your daily life, it could indicate Alzheimer’s disease. However, the typical age-related change is that sometimes you forget names or appointments, but you remember them later on.
- Trouble planning or solving problems. You have changes in your ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers, but it’s not a sign if you make a few errors when managing finances or household bills.
- Difficulty finishing regular tasks. Those with Alzheimer’s can begin having issues completing familiar tasks like driving to church, recalling the rules of a favorite game, or organizing a grocery list. However, it’s a typical age-related change to occasionally require assistance using a microwave or figuring out how to record a TV show.
- Confusion with time or location. If you’re always losing track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time, you should see your physician and have an Alzheimer’s test. You can, however, get confused about the day of the week and later recall.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Some people will have visual issues that indicate Alzheimer’s, which is different than the typical age-related change of your sight related to cataracts.
- Recent issues with words in speaking or writing. If you stop in the middle of a conversation and have no clue how to continue, it can be a sign of Alzheimer’s. The same is true if you have trouble remembering the name of a common object and frequently repeat yourself. However, it’s a typical age-related change to occasionally have difficulty finding the right word.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. If you put things in unusual places and can’t retrace your steps to find them, or if you accuse people of stealing from you, this may indicate Alzheimer’s disease. It is, however, a typical age-related change to misplace things from time to time and retrace your steps to find them.
- A lack of sound judgment. If you’re often experiencing difficulty with decision making and using poor judgment, see your doctor to be tested for Alzheimer’s. However, making an occasional bad decision or mistake is normal.
- No interest in work or social activities. Those with Alzheimer’s might feel unable to hold or follow a conversation and as a result withdraw from work or social activities. It is, however, a typical age-related change to occasionally feel uninterested in family or social obligations.
- Change in mood and personality. If you think your mood and personality are shifting, it may be a sign of Alzheimer’s. This could include confusion, suspicion, depression, fear/anxiety and becoming easily upset. However, it is a typical age-related change to develop specific ways of doing things and to get upset, when your routine is disrupted.
Reference: Considerable (March 4, 2020) “These are the 10 Alzheimer’s signs to watch out for”