Every close family member becomes extra vigilant towards the health of their senior loved one residing in Alzheimer’s assisted living communities. Besides age-related changes, there are also plenty of chronic conditions that may affect your senior loved one. One particular neurodegenerative illness that most seniors and loved ones want to avoid is Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s refers to an illness that affects one’s cognitive well-being by gradually damaging the brain cells and other brain components. Recent studies found that one in nine seniors aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, and two-thirds of them are women.
Most of the time, Alzheimer’s presents itself during one’s senior years, but not all affected individuals experience the same symptoms. One commonly known sign of this illness is memory problems, which can often be mistaken as a normal part of aging or age-related memory loss.
So how can you know if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease? What are the early warning signs that you should watch out for from your loved one?
5 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
It is normal for aging adults to experience physical and cognitive declination. But how can you know if it is age-related or a symptom of a chronic condition like Alzheimer’s? Here are five of the first symptoms that usually appear in older adults with cognitive impairment-related illnesses.
1. Short Term Memory Loss
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s usually experienced by seniors during the early stages of the disease is increasing memory problems. This type of memory loss is not the usual “forgot where my keys are” situation; it is more of an increased forgetfulness of recently learned information, which can disrupt the everyday life of an older adult. Some examples of situations include:
- Forgetting an entire conversation that happened just minutes ago.
- Difficulty recalling important dates and events.
- Asking questions repeatedly or saying sentences over and over.
- Forgetting recent information and not remembering them after.
Besides these situations, loved ones experiencing Alzheimer-related memory problems may also consistently rely on other people for reminders on their everyday schedule.
Memory problems usually go hand in hand with another symptom, which is increased confusion. This happens when a senior experiences difficulties in remembering current events or information, causing them to be extremely confused about what’s happening.
For example, forgetting the time of the day can make a loved one confused as to why they might be eating dinner or lunch. Another scenario is getting confused about where they are because they don’t remember a once familiar place anymore.
3. Poor Judgement
Has your once rational senior loved one now suddenly made poor life choices and decisions, causing havoc in their lives? If this behavior has been going on together with other symptoms, then it might be time to consider an Alzheimer’s assisted living facility for them.
Decreased or poor judgment is another sign of cognitive impairment related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This usually happens during the early stages of the illness and can present itself together with increased confusion and forgetfulness.
4. Trouble Completing Normal Tasks
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease often experience difficulties in doing once familiar tasks due to their increasing memory problems. It can also result from a lack of concentration and body coordination as the disease further damages their brain.
Some examples of this situation include forgetting how to drive, dress, or play their favorite game. Additionally, older adults with Alzheimer’s can also experience trouble following and doing multi-step tasks like cooking their specialty meal.
5. Speech and Communication Problems
Another destructive effect of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain is its effect on the brain’s ability to process language. As the condition damages the brain, seniors with Alzheimer’s can experience difficulty with speech and communication. Some examples include:
- Inability to form coherent sentences or remember the right words to use.
- Trouble in joining or following a conversation.
- Struggle with vocabulary and specific object names or familiar terms.
- Difficulties in reading, writing, and working on numbers.
If your loved one has been an eloquent individual before but currently experiences some of the above situations, then it might be time for them to seek medical help to know what’s wrong.
When to Seek Alzheimer’s Assisted Living Facilities
Noticing these early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease in your loved one requires you or a caregiver to seek medical assistance at once to determine their health condition. After a confirmed diagnosis, it’s natural for family members to want to be the ones to oversee and provide care for their senior loved one.
However, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means its symptoms will exacerbate, specifically within an unhealthy environment. Of course, these dire times warrant the specialized care and support that only a memory care facility can provide.
So here are eight clear signs that it’s time to move your elderly loved one into the best Alzheimer’s assisted living community.
- Their physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms are becoming too much to handle for you.
- Declining physical health and nutrition of a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s.
- Worsening of symptoms.
- A loved one’s safety and security are compromised in their current home.
- A loved one has little to no social life.
- Your senior struggles with loneliness, isolation, and other mental issues.
- You experience caregiving stress and burnout.
- You are experiencing a strain in your once good relationship with your senior loved one.
All these signs clearly point out that you and your senior loved one need an extra pair of professional hands to provide the care and support that’s necessary.
So don’t wait for a crisis or their symptoms to worsen before seeking out memory care services. Instead, start researching suitable facilities now and begin touring each one while your loved one still has their independence.
Having a firm grasp of the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease can give you a great head start into your loved one’s treatment plan and recovery journey. Seek healthcare professionals and a quality Alzheimer’s assisted living facility to give your loved one another chance at a happy life.