Memory Loss That Disrupts Daily Life
Lots of things can make you occasionally forgetful, including stress, taking certain medications or just having a lot on your plate.
But it should raise a red flag if you or your loved one is frequently doing the following:
- Forgetting recently learned information or important dates or events
- Mixing up family members or friends, or not recognizing them at all
- Repeating the same question or story in a short amount of time
- Relying increasingly or exclusively on reminders or family members to handle tasks that previously were easy to remember to do
“When we talk about memory changes, we’re referring to short-term memory, not long-term memory,” Bednarczyk explains. “Your mom may be able to recall going on a family vacation when she was 12, but she doesn’t remember eating lunch that day, or that she took her medication an hour ago.”
How To Spot Early Indicators That Your Loved One May Have Alzheimers Or Dementia
by Patrick J. Kiger, AARP, Updated September 27, 2021
En español | From age 50 on, its not unusual to have occasional trouble finding the right word or remembering where you put things.
But persistent difficulty with memory, cognition and ability to perform everyday tasks might be signs that something more serious is happening to a loved ones brain.
Dementia isnt actually a disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its a catch-all term for changes in the brain that cause a loss of functioning that interferes with daily life. Dementia can diminish focus, the ability to pay attention, language skills, problem-solving and visual perception. It also can make it difficult for a person to control his or her emotions and lead to personality changes.
More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, according to the “2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures” report fromthe Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia, accounting for 60 percent to 70 percent of cases, but a range of brain illnesses can lead to the condition .
Diseases that cause dementia
These conditions are the leading causes of dementia. Many patients have mixed dementia, a combination of two or more types, such as Alzheimers and vascular dementia.
Lewy body dementia. Abnormal protein deposits in the brain, called Lewy bodies, affect brain chemistry and lead to problems with behavior, mood, movement and thinking.
Early Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia In Men
Written byDevon AndrePublished onApril 12, 2017
Dementia is a term used to describe significant cognitive impairment. These impairments are often seen in two or more critical brain functions such as memory, language, judgment, and reasoning. Deficiencies in these aspects of cognitive ability can significantly affect a persons daily functioning, making them require constant aid.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimers disease, but there exist multiple forms of dementia that exhibit a varying degree of symptoms and presentations to help differentiate them from each other. Some of these other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, which may be the result of stroke and vasculitis, and frontal lobe dementia, which is relatively rare and thought to be inherited.
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Forgetting Names Stories Words Or Something You’ve Already Said Could Be An Early Sign Of Alzheimer’s
According to a new report released by the Alzheimer’s Association, the earliest stages of the neurological disease can first appear as an affliction known as mild cognitive impairment . But research shows that while the condition affects roughly one in seven adults over the age of 60, it can be difficult for many to spot it due to a lack of awareness: A recent survey found that 81 of patients believed that symptoms caused by MCI were a part of “normal aging.” Despite this, experts point out that there are still specific signals you’re dealing with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Mild cognitive impairment is often confused with normal aging because it is very subtle,” , PhD, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, told NPR. Often, she says symptoms of MCI can include “forgetting people’s names, forgetting perhaps that you’ve said something already, forgetting a story, forgetting words.”
Difficulties In Thinking Things Through And Planning
A person may get confused more easily and find it harder to plan, make complex decisions or solve problems.
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Problem Completing The Most Common Daily Tasks
When we go on repeating activities, they become part of our subconscious mind, and we carry out them without even thinking about them. Our chores are just like these activities that we carry off instantaneously.
But the women having symptoms of dementia have problems in performing their daily duties. They even forget how to cook food properly and make a cup of tea which they were the experts of not long ago.
These patients often remain perplexed because they do not recall their fundamental tasks and, most often, they strive to conceal their nervousness from relatives.
Having difficulties in the most common tasks is one of the preliminary signs of dementia in women.
How To Spot Early Signs Of Alzheimers Disease
Memory, judgment, reasoning and language skills are all important cognitive functions that falter when Alzheimers disease takes hold. Alzheimers is a form of degenerative dementia that eventually affects a persons ability to function on their own. But how can we tell if a slip-up is just a natural mistake or an early sign of something bigger and more worrisome?
Once these functions decline so much that they start negatively affecting daily life, its time to pay attention. Being aware of these first signs can help you identify if the memory changes that you or a loved one are experiencing are simply a normal part of aging, or a sign of something more serious.
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Still In Early Stages
Previous studies have shown a growing link between symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and hearing loss, but Nedelec said there were others that surprised him.
He explainedthat spondylosis and constipation were unexpected, as there is not much research linking these two with Alzheimers.
However, none of the above symptoms will automatically lead to an Alzheimers diagnosis.
Theres a bunch of reasons to wonder why that happened in the analysis and it becomes a kind of chicken or egg type of question, Scott Kaiser, MD, a geriatrician and director of geriatric cognitive health for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint Johns Health Center who was not involved in the study, told Verywell. Is this a symptom of Alzheimers or is this a risk factor that increases your chances of Alzheimers?
Its also hard to make any definitive conclusions when other factors such as your socioeconomic status, genetics, and body mass index carry their own risks for Alzheimers.
Family history is something that can increase your odds of Alzheimers but then there are a bunch of other things like how active you are, how much second smoke or air pollution youre exposed to, loneliness, and social isolation, Kaiser explains. Having this information could create a more complete picture of what leads to an Alzheimers diagnosis.
Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
Some people may experience a greater problem with concentration. Routine day-to-day tasks requiring critical thought may take longer as the disease progresses.
The ability to drive safely may also be called into question. If you or a loved one gets lost while driving a commonly traveled route, this may be a symptom of AD.
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Key Points About Early
Alzheimer disease commonly affects older people, but early-onset Alzheimer disease can affect people in their 30s or 40s.
It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.
Although there is no known cure, early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better quality of life.
Stay healthy with a good diet and regular exercise.
Avoid alcohol and other substances that may affect memory, thinking, and behavior.
Conditions With Symptoms Similar To Dementia
Remember that many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia, so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia just because some of the above symptoms are present. Strokes, depression, excessive long-term alcohol consumption, infections, hormonal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and brain tumours can all cause dementia-like symptoms. Many of these conditions can be treated.
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Losing Interest In Exercise
If your loved one happened to be very active in their lives, a sudden lack of interest in exercise and even daily activities can be one of the signs of dementia in women.
This means even something as simple as going out for a walk. It can also get more serious with losing interest in going upstairs although there is nothing wrong with them physically.
On the other hand, if one is diagnosed with dementia, regular exercise improves blood flow to the brain and alleviates the condition.
Daily Tasks Become Impossible
People can often be distracted and forget to do something simple, like adding an item to their grocery list. However, someone with Alzheimers will begin to find performing regular tasks, such as grocery shopping itself, challenging. Routine day-to-day tasks that require critical thinking may become more challenging as the disease progresses. It can start with the most challenging tasks being impossible, such as creating a budget or planning a holiday dinner, to simple tasks like going to the grocery store becoming impossible.
You will notice that your loved one struggles with things that seem simple and obvious to you. They might also start to avoid these tasks altogether because theyve become so challenging. For example, you may notice rotting food in the fridge because your loved one cant make a grocery list or navigate the grocery store, or theyve forgotten how to cook their usual meals. These symptoms might seem like casual slip ups at first but will become more obvious and concerning with time.
The Benefits Of An Early Alzheimers Diagnosis
People on the onset of Alzheimers may experience just one early warning sign or several and signs will show in varying degrees.
If youre concerned that a loved ones memory loss may be serious, consult with a doctor.
While Alzheimers currently has no cure, an early diagnosis means early treatment. That increases a persons chances of maintaining independence for as long as possible and having a voice in planning for their future.
Did any early signs of Alzheimers lead to a diagnosis for you or a loved one? Share your story with us in the comments below.
A Visit To The Doctor Can Determine If Memory Problems Are The Result Of Mci Or Something Else Entirely
Many tend to fear the worst when they notice what they think are the first signs of cognitive decline. But experts point out that other health problems or environmental factors could cause some memory-related symptoms.
“Maybe somebody is tired. Maybe somebody is not sleeping well. Maybe somebody is taking some medications that make them a little groggy,” Carrillo told NPR.
Fortunately, a trip to the doctor can help determine if any other underlying causes could be to blame for the changes in behavior and sometimes can be treated. “If there’s a vitamin B12 deficiency, it does actually mimic mild cognitive impairment or even early Alzheimer’s dementia,” Carrillo explains. “And that can be solved with vitamin B12 injections.”
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What Are The Early Signs Of Alzheimers Disease
According to data gathered by the Alzheimers Association, Alzheimers accounts for up to 80 percent of dementia cases and is the most common type of dementia among adults in the U.S. The greatest known risk factor for Alzheimers disease is increasing age the majority of Alzheimers patients are age 65 or older.
While some changes to memory and daily habits are a normal part of aging, Alzheimers and its signs and symptoms are different. Because Alzheimers is a progressive disease, early diagnosis is important in managing symptoms of the disease. While there is no cure, therapies, treatments and daily lifestyle changes can support Alzheimers patients as they live happy, engaged lives. At Stratford Commons Memory Care Community, residents have access to activity, social, wellness and fitness programs, as well as innovative therapies and communication technologies that allow them to pursue their current interests and continue to develop new hobbies.
In order to provide support to a loved one on an Alzheimers journey, or to understand what the future may look pending a diagnosis, it is important to understand what the early signs of Alzheimers are and how to take action early.
What Happens In The Early Stage Of Dementia
Dementia affects everyone differently and early symptoms are often relatively mild and not always easy to notice.
Many people at the early stage of dementia stay largely independent and only need a bit of assistance with daily living. It is important to focus on what the person can do and not to take over and do things for them. Instead, try doing things with them, for example helping the person develop a routine, reminder lists and prompts, and use technology.
For more information for people living with dementia, see the ‘Keeping active and involved‘ page.
The early stage of dementia is when many people choose to make plans for the future, while they still have the ability to do so. This includes making a Lasting power of attorney , and advance decisions and advance statements to ensure their wishes and preferences are made clear.
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Struggling To Adapt To Change
For someone in the early stages of dementia, the experience can cause fear. Suddenly, they cant remember people they know or follow what others are saying. They cant remember why they went to the store, and they get lost on the way home.
Because of this, they might crave routine and be afraid to try new experiences. Difficulty adapting to change is also a typical symptom of early dementia.
Confusion With Spacing And Time
Sometimes those with Alzheimers find familiar surroundings suddenly foreign and insist theyve never been there before. Or, they may forget how to get to places they visit often, like the grocery store or pharmacy. Its also common to express confusion over the day, date, month or the current season.
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Verbal And Physical Aggression
Verbal and physical aggression are the natural properties of a person. Some people may become rude due to depression and mental illness.
Such behavior is often considered as one of the very many different symptoms of dementia. She may become crude in no time without any cause. She may speak loudly, abuse severely and fight ferociously.
The explanation of it is mental stress, lack of self-control, sudden changes in mood, regularly losing things and poor money habits.
Verbal and physical aggression is one of the rigorous signs of dementia in women. It is a significant condition of concern for the caretaker of the patient.
Decreased Or Poor Judgement
This is different to: making a bad decision once in a while.
Changes in decision-making or judgement might include dealing with money or paying less attention to keeping clean and groomed. This can be one of the more obvious parts of your observation list for early signs of dementia.
Look out for signs that your parent might not be looking after themselves the way they used to. They may forget to wash regularly, wear the same clothes continuously throughout the week, forget to brush their teeth, forget to brush their hair, shave or go to the loo.
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What Are The Early Signs Of Dementia
Symptoms of dementia are caused by changes in the brain changes that can begin years before early dementia signs present themselves. There are three general stages for Alzheimer’s mild , moderate , and severe . The speed at which a patient moves through these stages varies, but progression of the symptoms themselves follows a fairly standardized path.
The most common early dementia symptoms are forgetfulness and short-term memory loss. Patients may forget where they left something or have trouble recalling the details of a conversation, but long-term memory and the remembering of important dates or events is typically unaffected in early stages of dementia.
As the symptoms of Alzheimer’s progress, patients become increasingly confused about simple facts such as time or place and may have difficulty concentrating they can still complete regular tasks, but concentrating may take longer than usual.
Over time, symptoms of dementia may include frequently misplacing objects and an increased difficulty completing daily tasks. Patients are more likely to lose things and may have trouble retracing their steps to find them. This sometimes progresses to feelings of paranoia or accusations of theft when the patient cannot find something they unknowingly misplaced. Patients may also start to have trouble with daily tasks such as driving, cooking, or engaging in hobbies. Changes in vision and depth perception may also lead to increased clumsiness, falls, and other accidents.
Alzheimers Symptoms Vs Normal Aging
When learning about the early signs of Alzheimers, it can be overwhelming and frightening. Many of the signs of Alzheimers closely mirror normal aging challenges. It is important to remember a few key differences:
- Normal memory loss can occur. However, in the case of normal aging, seniors may forget things like appointments, but will remember them later.
- Healthy seniors may still require assistance in managing finances or household bills. They may even ask for assistance using new technology or remembering the name of an actor in a favorite movie.
- Seniors can become confused about the day of the week without having Alzheimers. However, in this case, the senior will be able to recall the time and place without help.
- Vision changes related to cataracts can be a normal part of aging.
- Misplacing things in itself is not cause for alarm, as long as a senior can retrace his or her steps and recover the item.
- Sometimes seniors prefer not to keep the same pace in their social life as they age. This is normal and should not be cause for concern unless the senior is actively disengaging from family and friends and seems withdrawn.
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