Is This Alzheimer’s Disease: 5 Early Warning Signs of Dementia

Across the state of New Jersey, 439,000 family caregivers provide support to more than 150,000 loved ones who live with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. By 2025, that number is projected to climb by 13% to top 170,000. The impact of this degenerative disease on families is enormous. 

New Jersey caregivers (http://www.alz.org/documents_custom/facts_2013/alz_f-fstatesheets-31.pdf?type=interior_map&facts=undefined&facts=facts) provide 500,000 hours of uncompensated care for a total value of $6,166,000,000.

Fotolia 31012287 XSFor caregivers, it may be difficult to determine if a loved one has memory loss or if they are just experiencing normal aging. Knowing the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s is important in  getting help for your loved one early. When one of the newer medications may help delay some effects of the disease.

What are the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease?

The aging experts at Fall River Jewish Home in New Jersey share five warning signs of dementia: 

  1. Forgetfulness. For most of us, this is the classic warning sign we associate with Alzheimer’s disease. Determining if it is dementia or a normal part of aging is key. Think first about what they forget. Is it appointments or friends’ names? Do they remember them later or is that information gone for good? If they remember later, that may just be a normal part of the aging process. But if they never remember or need to rely on someone else to help them remember, it may be a sign of something more than aging.

  2. Trouble Remembering Time & Place. We’ve all seen on the evening news where an older adult is missing after a trip to the grocery store. Turns out, they got lost on their way home. Disorientation to time and place is a warning sign to share with your older loved one’s physician.

  3. Changes in Personality or Behavior. When a typically positive family member becomes irritable or withdrawn it may be a sign that something is wrong. Changes in personality, such as anxiety or paranoia, can also be early indicators of Alzheimer’s disease.

  4. Misplacing Belongings. In our busy, always rushing lifestyles, most of us misplace a few things from time to time. If we do, we can retrace our route that day and track down what we lost. For those living with Alzheimer’s disease, recreating their day becomes difficult to impossible. They can’t find what they’ve misplaced because they aren’t able to recall where they have been.

  5. Problems with Abstract Thought. This is a classic but lesser known warning sign for dementia. If your loved one has a difficult time with tasks such as making out bills and mailing them or following the directions on a recipe, these both involve abstract

If you found you answered YES to one or more of these questions, we recommend you schedule an appointment with your loved one’s primary care physician. They are the best place to start when you need to determine if your concerns are a normal part of aging or something more serious.

Are you the caregiver for a loved one with dementia? Did you recognize any of these early warning signs?

 

 

 

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