As family members get older, you might begin to notice changes in them. Maybe they can’t exercise like they used to, or their eyesight begins to fade. From hearing loss to arthritis, we expect to see many changes in our aging parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but what about memory loss?
It is a worry we can all relate to. When an elderly person we know forgets the date or can’t remember the name of someone important, one of the first fears might be Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease affects more than 50 million people worldwide. It is a serious disease that can be affected by a variety of different health factors, and still has no known cure. It is a condition that the Alzheimer’s Association works to combat, through medical research and programs to provide support and aid for families in need. But if your family has never experienced Alzheimer’s Disease before, how do you know if someone you love might be affected?
Golden Triangle Emergency Center, in honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, wants to discuss some of the common symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Confusion & Memory Loss
Sometimes, it can be difficult to know when someone is experiencing a moment of distraction or a moment of real memory loss. We all get busy, and sometimes stress can contribute to someone’s inability to recall important dates or small tasks that they were supposed to attend to that week. If you’re worried about Alzheimer’s, then keep track of what things get forgotten and what the circumstances might be for it.
If forgetting simple facts and tasks begins to interfere with their ability to function throughout the day, it is time to consult with a doctor. The kind of forgetfulness which can be most concerning are:
- Being unable to retrace their steps through a grocery store, house, or other familiar places.
- Being unable to recall what tasks they did that day.
- Misplacing common household items.
- Frequent confusion with time, date, and place.
- Forgetting names and words frequently.
While these symptoms are not always a product of Alzheimer’s Disease, they can be some of the most noticeable signs that something isn’t right. Pay attention to moments of forgetfulness in those you love and seek medical advice if it begins to interfere with daily life.
Challenges with Problem Solving & Vocabulary
Another common sign of possible Alzheimer’s Disease is when someone struggles with problem solving. This can be as small as being unsure how to schedule their week or being unable to follow a set schedule. Sometimes it can manifest on a larger scale, and someone who is usually intellectual will be noticeably challenged to remember which words they want to use or how to express their thoughts properly.
For those with family members who like to do sudoku, cross-words, or other similar puzzle-oriented games, it can be easy to see when they might be struggling with problem-solving. But in others, it might be harder to notice. If a normally organized member of your family begins to grow disorganized and frantic, you should talk with them about seeing a doctor.
Mood Changes & Social Withdrawal
Given that Alzheimer’s is a disease which affects someone’s mind, it is common to notice gradual mood and behavioral changes in someone who has it. While these changes might be gradual at first, they can often come in tandem with other symptoms. Frustration at being unable to recall something or withdrawing from social plans when someone cannot remember the schedule are some examples of how mood changes can manifest in early Alzheimer’s patients.
Changing moods can also make it difficult to talk to your family member about the possibility of Alzheimer’s. If you are concerned about their risks, but your loved one is resistant to seeking testing, then try talking with other family members. Get a support system rallied and ready to help. With emotional support, it is easier to encourage someone to get tested early than if you try to insist too strongly.
Doctors all agree that one of the most important factors in treating Alzheimer’s Disease is getting an early diagnosis. While this condition has no known cure, it can be treated with the help of medical professionals. The earlier symptoms are spotted and diagnosed, the easier it is to intervene early. This means that it is important to talk about the risk of Alzheimer’s with your family, even before anyone has any symptoms. Dismissing forgotten names and dates as “just getting older” can be detrimental for many Alzheimer’s patients. It is always better to get a professional, medical opinion.
Golden Triangle Emergency Center supports all families in our community and encourages them to watch out for symptoms and get tested early for Alzheimer’s Disease. This disease can be intimidating for many, but with help from organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association, many patients can get the support and treatment they need to live long, fulfilling lives.
You can depend on Golden Triangle Emergency Center to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.