Six Early Signs Of Alzheimers And Other Dementia
Content sponsored by
Did you know that 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia? Alzheimers disease is a degenerative brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Its the most common form of dementia and can develop from multiple factors, such as age, genetics, lifestyle and environment.
There are signs and symptoms that may be indicative of Alzheimers or otherdementia. When detected early, treatments can be explored that may provide some relief of symptoms and help individuals maintain a level of independence longer. Early detection can also increase the chances of participation in clinical drug trials that help advance research.
If you notice any of the following warning signs in your aging parents, family members or friends, be sure to talk with them about what theyve been experiencing, and schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.
“Early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can improve the quality of care and quality of life for your loved oneand that begins with getting educated about the disease.” Kristina Fransel, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter
Dementia Symptoms: What Memory Loss Means
Some people think of memory loss superficially, as merely forgetting words or names. But itâs much more profound than that. Everything we do is premised on memory. When you walk into the kitchen to make dinner, your actions are almost unconscious. You grab food from the fridge, turn on the oven, take out plates and silverware â your memories are a foundation, and they give you a context for what youâre supposed to do in a given situation.
For a person with dementia, that context is ripped away. A woman with Alzheimerâs disease may walk into a kitchen and have no idea why they were there or what were supposed to be doing. They might still be able to make dinner â especially in the early stages of the disease â but itâs a struggle. Each step has to be reasoned out and thought through. Thatâs why people with dementia tend to act more slowly than they once did.
In the advanced stages of the disease, the actions of a person with dementia may seem irrational. But Beth Kallmyer, MSW, director of client services for the national office of the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago, says that they often make a kind of warped logic.
âOur brains are built to reason,â says Kallmyer, âand even when the brain has been affected by a disease like Alzheimerâs, itâs still struggling to reason.â The problem is that as memories are lost, the brain just doesnât have enough information to interpret situations correctly.
Dying From Dementia With Late
The death of your loved one can be a hard concept to wrap your head around and accept. But knowing what to expect can help you when your loved one has late-stage dementia. It might help to know what will happen in the future so that you can be prepared emotionally and logistically.
This article discusses how dementia progresses and what to expect during late-stage dementia.
Also Check: Is Lewy Body Dementia Terminal
What Does Early Onset Alzheimers Look Like
Since I began on my own personal Alzheimers journey in the end of December 2018 at 57 years old, I had no idea what to expect. I was showing some signs that things werent quite right so I went to my neurologist and got a diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimers. I decided to go public about my diagnosis and get active in the Alzheimers community to see if I could help find a cure for myself as well as others.
I started attending Alzheimers Support Group meetings, volunteering for the Alzheimers Association and started my blog. As a result I began meeting more people with Alzheimers, sadly many of them under 65 years old with Early Onset Alzheimers. In the top photo above, I am on the left with my friend Deb, who is 54 and has a rare form of Alzhiemers called Cortical Atrophy Basal Degeneration. Jenna, the young gal on the bottom was diagnosed at 33 with Early Onset Alzheimers. Both of them are declining and are no longer able to drive or work. Fortunately for me, I can still drive , and am still able to do almost everything, having more good days than bad days. All three of us are doing are best to stay active, exercise and eat very healthy.
We need to find a cure.Deb, Jenna and I would love to find a cure in our lifetime while we still have some quality of life. We need to find a cure so future generations..your kids, and your grandchildren dont have to worry about this disease. Please help us find a cure. Donate now to the Alzheimers Association.
Challenges Planning Or Completing Familiar Tasks
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. Experiencing difficulty with cooking a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills are common signs. They may also have trouble driving to a familiar location, organizing a grocery list or remembering the rules of their favorite game.
You May Like: Alzheimer’s And Dementia Ribbon
How Does Peanut Butter Detect Alzheimers
The researchers discovered that those who had an impaired sense of smell in the left nostril had early-stage Alzheimers.
They noted that the participants needed to be an average of 10 centimeters closer to the peanut butter container in order to smell it from their left nostril compared to their right nostril..
What Does Alzheimers Disease Look Like
Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimers, though initial symptoms may vary from person to person. A decline in other aspects of thinking, such as finding the right words, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimers disease. Mild cognitive impairment is a condition that can be an early sign of Alzheimers, but not everyone with MCI will develop the disease.
People with Alzheimers have trouble doing everyday things like driving a car, cooking a meal, or paying bills. They may ask the same questions over and over, get lost easily, lose things or put them in odd places, and find even simple things confusing. As the disease progresses, some people become worried, angry, or violent.
Recommended Reading: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
Problem Solving Or Planning Difficulties
The person may find that they have difficulty following directions, solving problems, and focusing. For example, they may find it difficult to:
- follow a recipe
- follow directions on a product
- keeping track of monthly bills or expenses
Some people often have problems like these, but if they start to happen when they did not happen before, it could indicate early onset Alzheimers disease.
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.
Recommended Reading: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
The 3 Stages Of Alzheimer’s: What To Expect And What To Do
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, you are likely experiencing many different emotions including shock, fear, sadness, and worry. Knowing what to expect and how to plan ahead can provide a sense of control and important peace of mind. Alzheimers disease has three stages: early , middle , and late . Here is what to expect and what to do during each of them.
What Are The Benefits Of Early Diagnosis
Early planning and assistanceEarly diagnosis enables a person with dementia and their family to receive help in understanding and adjusting to the diagnosis and to prepare for the future in an appropriate way. This might include making legal and financial arrangements, changes to living arrangements, and finding out about aids and services that will enhance quality of life for people with dementia and their family and friends. Early diagnosis can allow the individual to have an active role in decision making and planning for the future while families can educate themselves about the disease and learn effective ways of interacting with the person with dementia.
Checking concernsChanges in memory and thinking ability can be very worrying. Symptoms of dementia can be caused by several different diseases and conditions, some of which are treatable and reversible, including infections, depression, medication side-effects or nutritional deficiencies. The sooner the cause of dementia symptoms is identified, the sooner treatment can begin. Asking a doctor to check any symptoms and to identify the cause of symptoms can bring relief to people and their families.
Also Check: Colors For Alzheimer’s Awareness
You’ve Been Getting Easily Confused
Another typical sign of dementia, that may seem a bit bizarre, is forgetting what to do with everyday objects. According to Jessica Zwerling, MD, MS, director of the Memory Disorders Center at the Montefiore Health System, you might momentarily forget where to put your groceries, for example, or how to use your phone.
It can be a scary experience, and is definitely something you’ll want to point out to a doctor. And the same is true if you experience other forms of forgetfulness, such as suddenly needing to follow a recipe for dishes you make all the time. It’s this inability to remember simple, everyday things that can be cause for concern.
How Dementia Causes Death
A person in the late stage of dementia is at risk for many medical complications, like a urinary tract infection and pneumonia . They’re at an even higher risk of certain conditions because they’re unable to move.
Trouble swallowing, eating, and drinking leads to weight loss, dehydration, and malnutrition. This further increases their risk of infection.
In the end, most people with late-stage dementia die of a medical complication related to their underlying dementia.
For example, a person may die from an infection like aspiration pneumonia. This type of pneumonia usually happens because of swallowing problems.
A person may also die from a blood clot in the lung because they are bedbound and not mobile.
It’s important to know that late-stage dementia is a terminal illness. This means that dementia itself can lead to death. Sometimes this is appropriately listed as the cause of death on a death certificate.
How Do I Treat Early
Keep your body in good shape, too. Make sure you eat healthy food and get regular exercise.
Early Warning Signs And Diagnosis
Alzheimers Disease can be caught in the early stageswhen the best treatments are availableby watching for telltale warning signs. If you recognize the warning signs in yourself or a loved one, make an appointment to see your physician right away. Brain imaging technology can diagnose Alzheimers early, improving the opportunities for symptom management.
Also Check: When Dementia Patients Get Violent
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.
Changes In Mood Or Emotion
The person may be more anxious, frightened or sad, and so at risk of depression. It is also common to become more irritable perhaps in frustration at lost abilities or easily upset. A person can often be more withdrawn, lack self-confidence and lose interest in hobbies or people.
Changes in behaviour are not common in early-stage dementia, other than in FTD. A person with behavioural variant FTD may lose their inhibitions and behave in socially inappropriate ways. They may also act impulsively and lose empathy for others.
Significant physical changes at this stage tend to be limited to DLB, where problems with movement are similar to Parkinsons disease. If someone with vascular or mixed dementia has a stroke, this can lead to weak limbs on one side.
Need help finding dementia information?
Everybody forgets things from time to time. But if you or other people are noticing that memory problems are getting worse, or affecting everyday life, it could be a sign of dementia.
Also Check: Farts Help Prevent Cancer
Difficulty Determining Time Or Place
Losing track of dates and misunderstanding the passage of time as it occurs are also two common symptoms. Planning for future events can become difficult since they arent immediately occurring.
As symptoms progress, people with AD can become increasingly forgetful about where they are, how they got there, or why theyre there.
Dementia Around The World: Whats Does The Future Look Like
In 2017, it was estimated that 44 million people around the world have Alzheimers or another degenerative neurological disorder. As elderly populations increase around the world, this figure is expected to rise significantly. In the U.S., a Baby Boomer population that is currently increasing is expected to put a lot of pressure on the medical community in the years to come. In this blog, we will go over some of the important figures that describe the future of Alzheimers, as well as discuss some of the ways scientists and medical institutions are working towards better treatment, care, and, hopefully, a cure.
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.
What To Expect In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers Disease
What To Expect In The Late Stages Of Alzheimers Disease
As Alzheimers advances into the later stages, caregivers and family members can expect quite a few new symptoms of the disease. Fortunately, being prepared now can help people better cope with the challenges of the late stages of Alzheimers.
Although the disease doesnt affect every person the same way, informed caregivers can often reduce later stage crisis. Read our list of the symptoms to expect in the late stages of Alzheimers to better prepare for tomorrow, today.
Read Also: What Color Ribbon Is Alzheimer’s
How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed And Evaluated
No single test can determine whether a person has Alzheimer’s disease. A diagnosis is made by determining the presence of certain symptoms and ruling out other causes of dementia. This involves a careful medical evaluation, including a thorough medical history, mental status testing, a physical and neurological exam, blood tests and brain imaging exams, including:
You Can’t Remember Anyone’s Name
Recalling information is another issue many people with dementia can struggle with, so consider it a red flag if you can no longer remember people’s names.
“When at a social gathering, you forget names of people you just met,” Dr. Schreiber says. Or you might not be able to remember a friend’s name when telling a story.
If you’ve always been bad with names then this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. But if you find yourself blanking on a more regular basis, it may be time to get yourself checked.
Read Also: What Is The Color For Dementia Awareness
Gait And Motor Activity
Different types of dementia can affect gait and posture, and as dementia progresses into the later stages, the majority of the person’s functioning declines. You may observe this as hesitant steps, difficulty with visuospatial tasks such as going up and down stairs, or challenges with balance. You may also see decreased physical movement due to apathy, or increased movement such as frequent wandering and restlessness.
Risk Factors To Consider
Although AD isnt an expected part of advancing age, youre at increased risk as you get older. More than 32 percent of people over age 85 have Alzheimers.
You may also have an increased risk of developing AD if a parent, sibling, or child has the disease. If more than one family member has AD, your risk increases.
The exact cause of early onset AD hasnt been fully determined. Many researchers believe that this disease develops as the result of multiple factors rather than one specific cause.
Researchers have discovered rare genes that may directly cause or contribute to AD. These genes may be carried from one generation to the next within a family. Carrying this gene can result in adults younger than age 65 developing symptoms much earlier than expected.
Also Check: Senility Vs Dementia