Memory Loss: Could it be Alzheimer's?
Do you sometimes wonder if you or a loved one might be experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s? These 10 tips will help you recognize what’s typical as we age compared to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s – a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.
1. Memory Loss that Affects Your Ability to Live Daily Life
Typical: Forgetting a date, event or appointment and then remembering it later.
Alzheimer’s Symptom: Forgetting information recently learned, needing to ask the same things over and over and/or forgetting important dates.
2. Difficulty with Challenges or Problem Solving
Typical: Occasionally making an error when balancing the checkbook.
Alzheimer’s Symptom: A change in the person’s ability to solve problems, follow a familiar recipe or use math and track numbers. This can be due to a difficulty in concentrating that results in taking a lot longer to do things than it took before.
3. Difficulty Completing Daily Tasks
Typical: Sometimes needing help with recording a TV program or using the microwave buttons.
Alzheimer’s Symptom: Difficulty completing something that is often repeated such as driving to a familiar location or unable to remember the rules to a game that is often played.
4. Confusion with Time
Typical: Forgetting the date or what day of the week it is, but remembering later.
Alzheimer’s Symptom: Unable to remember the date, the current season or the passage of time. They may sometimes forget where they’re at or how they got there.
5. Trouble Understanding What They’re Looking at or Spatial Relationships
Typical: Decreased vision due to cataracts or other vision problems that should be examined by an ophthalmologist.
Alzheimer’s Symptom: Not able to tell depth, difficulty determining a color or unable to judge distance. These can all affect the person’s ability to drive.
6. New Problems with use of Words, Spelling or Speaking
Typical: Sometimes being unable to find the right word in a conversation or when writing.
Alzheimer’s Symptom: Difficulty joining in with conversations or starting a conversation but not able to finish it. They may struggle with vocabulary or finding the right word for common items.
7. Misplacing Items and Unable to Retrace Steps
Typical: Misplacing things and being able to retrace steps to try to find the lost items.
Alzheimer’s Symptom: Losing things and unable to retrace steps to be able to find them. Sometimes even accusing others of stealing when the items are just misplaced – often in an unusual place.
8. Decrease in “Good Judgment”
Typical: Occasionally making poor decisions
Alzheimer’s Symptom: Making judgments that are not typical such as giving large sums of money or private data to telemarketers. Also, they may stop paying attention to personal care/grooming.
9. Withdrawal from Social Situations
Typical: Occasionally being weary of social engagements, work or family.
Alzheimer’s Symptom: Starting to remove themselves from hobbies or keeping up with interests such as sports or the stock market.
10. Changes in Mood or Personality
Typical: Irritability when a routine is interrupted.
Alzheimer’s Symptom: Becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious for no apparent reason. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.