Sadly, many seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease are undiagnosed because the symptoms of memory loss are often misjudged as a normal part of “getting old.” Unlike normal aging, where it’s common to forget things from time to time, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease completely disrupt a person’s daily life. In addition to memory loss, seniors living with Alzheimer’s experience a variety of cognitive and physical impairments that, as they progress, are far from typical.
All of this considered, the best strategy we can have in helping seniors receive proper and timely diagnoses of their memory loss is to be aware of the earliest signs of the disease. According to Diane Reier, Lifestyle Specialist at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, a senior living community in Prospect Heights, IL, early detection is vital to receiving the best care.
“Those with Alzheimer’s need specialized care in order to live as fully as possible,” says Reier. “A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is the first step in allowing for the proper care that comes through an educated understanding of the disease.”
The Earliest Signs of Alzheimer’s
Thanks to the Alzheimer’s Association and other prominent organizations committed to spreading knowledge and awareness of the disease, resources are readily available for families seeking advice. The Alzheimer’s Association shares “10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s” on their website. If you suspect that your loved one is experiencing symptoms beyond those of normal aging, be aware of the following conditions:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life – forgetting new information or important names and dates, relying on memory aids and frequent reminders from family members
- Challenges in planning or solving problems – having difficulty making a plan and following it, having difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks – forgetting where an item is kept or how to drive to a familiar place
- Confusion with time or place – losing track of dates, seasons or the passage of time, forgetting where they are or how they got there
- Trouble with visual images or spatial relationships – difficulty reading, judging distance or determining color
- New problems with words in speaking or writing – having trouble following a conversation, finding the right words or making up new words, stopping mid-sentence and not knowing how to continue
- Losing the ability to retrace steps – misplacing things in unusual places and not knowing how to find them, may accuse others of stealing from them
- Decreased or poor judgment – mishandling money and giving away large amounts to telemarketers, ceasing to take care of personal grooming or appearance
- Withdrawal from work or social activities – removing themselves from hobbies and social situations, either because they have trouble remembering or are embarrassed by the changes they’ve experienced
- Changes in mood or personality – becoming increasingly confused, anxious, suspicious, fearful or depressed, may be easily upset around people and places that are outside of their comfort zone
If you notice any of these symptoms recurring in your loved one’s health or behavior, you should help them make an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible to rule out other health problems and test for memory impairment.
Why an Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Matters
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means that its symptoms will get worse as time goes on. During early-stage Alzheimer’s, your loved one may not show any of the symptoms described above, or may only experience them occasionally. Your loved one and the rest of your family may not notice that anything is wrong.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the individual will begin to experience symptoms that interfere with his or her daily life. In the middle stages of the disease, a person may become moody or withdrawn and exhibit troublesome behaviors. Those with the disease may begin to forget their own personal information or history, need help making simple decisions or experience changes in their sleeping patterns. They may be easily confused and wander away from home. In the latest stage of the disease, individuals lose the ability to respond to their surroundings or carry on a conversation.
Detecting Alzheimer’s disease early makes it easier to prepare for the difficult symptoms in the middle and late stages. Being aware of your loved one’s disease can help you and your family know how to educate yourselves and plan for your loved one’s future care while they can still contribute to a plan of care.
Memory Care & Alzheimer’s Support for the Days Ahead
For most families, the intensity of caring for a loved one with late-stage memory loss is too much for them to take care of at home. Many look to the expertise and lifestyle options offered at memory care communities.
“Leading memory care communities, like ours within Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, provides everything seniors with Alzheimer’s disease need to live physically, emotionally and socially healthy lifestyles,” says Reier. “With care staff specially trained in dementia care practices, specialized programming, dining support and secure living environments, loved ones with memory loss have an entire community supporting them to enjoy healthy, meaningful and, most importantly, joyful lives.”
If you would like to learn more about professional memory care or the services available at Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights, contact us today.
We Would Love to Hear from You!
If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also welcome you to share any caregiving insights or experiences in our comments section.
Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.
Offering Independent, Assisted Living and A Knew Day Memory Support, Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights is a distinctive senior living community designed to offer seniors residing in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs area a fresh alternative to “typical” senior living communities.
Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights provides residents with the ideal balance of personalized support, dignified privacy and enhanced independence complemented by luxurious amenities and our life-enriching, award-winning VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living®.
Managed by Pathway to Living®, an innovator in senior living, Aspired Living® offers the choice of a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartment and the beauty of a brand new community, stunningly appointed and decorated for unsurpassed comfort and style by the award-winning senior living design firm, Thoma-Holec Design, Inc.
For more information, please call Diane at 847-243-6920.
Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Aspired Living® of Prospect Heights for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.