Early Signs of Alzheimer’s or Dementia

While we can all be a little absent-minded or scatterbrained sometimes, forgetfulness and confusion in seniors is something that shouldn’t be ignored. When your aging loved one struggles with their memory, it may be just a side effect of old age, but it could also be a sign of the onset of dementia. It can be difficult to tell the difference, so it’s definitely something that you should address with their doctor, especially if they are showing any of these early signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Inability to perform routine tasks

Early dementia sufferers may mentally struggle to carry out tasks that they’ve never had difficulties with before. Even normal, everyday chores — such as grooming, cleaning, cooking, or paying bills — can become a challenge.

Difficulty concentrating or following instructions

You may notice that your loved one can’t seem to concentrate on a task or follow directions. They may struggle to follow a recipe, even a familiar one, or have trouble doing things like reading, using normal household appliances, or comprehending new information.

Disorientation in familiar places

With the onset of dementia, individuals tend to get disorientated in places they’ve been to many times before. This is especially dangerous if they are still driving, as they can easily become lost and confused and unable or unwilling to ask for help.

Confusing times, places, or people

Dementia sufferers may appear to get confused about the current date or the time and place an event occurred. For example, they may talk about an event as if it happened recently, when in reality, it occurred a decade or more earlier. They can also forget family members’ names or mix them up with other individuals.

Frequently repeating themselves

Repeating the same stories within a short period of time or asking the same questions over and over can also be a strong sign of the onset of dementia. Sufferers may also forget about events or appointments and have trouble retaining new information.

Misplacing belongings

When suffering from dementia, seniors tend to put objects in strange places or frequently lose belongings. They may also become angry or paranoid and accuse others of stealing items that they themselves misplaced.

Poor judgment and decision-making skills

This is an especially dangerous sign of dementia and should not be ignored. Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s may display poor judgment when it comes to things like finances, safety, or personal hygiene. This can result in falling for scams or significantly overspending, putting themselves in dangerous situations, or neglecting their own health.

Withdrawing socially

Individuals with dementia can have difficulty following or participating in conversations, so they often withdraw from family, friends, and social situations. They may also lose interest in hobbies or activities that they previously enjoyed.

Personality changes

The onset of dementia often brings about noticeable personality changes. Dementia patients may become abnormally angry, short-tempered, depressed, or anxious, especially around groups of people or in unfamiliar places.

As our loved ones grow older, it’s normal to see some physical and cognitive decline — that’s just an unavoidable part of aging. But some changes can signify the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia and should not be ignored. If your loved one is displaying any of these signs, it’s important to speak with their doctor right away and have them screened for dementia. An early diagnosis can make all the difference when it comes to their future and quality of life.

If your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, or they are just having difficulties caring for themselves as they age, in-home care can provide the help they need while allowing them to remain in their familiar, comfortable home environment. Right Hand Senior Care offers affordable, custom care plans for seniors, giving them the care they need — and you peace of mind. For more information, contact us.

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