The early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can look a little different for everyone, and they often include more than memory loss. When you can recognize these symptoms, you can better support your loved one and help make their experience as positive as possible.
If you think someone close to you may be experiencing early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, here are the steps you should take.
1. Recognize these early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:
Memory loss looks different for people with Alzheimer’s disease. If your loved one sometimes misplaces their car keys or reading glasses, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. But if they can’t remember where they placed something for a whole week, that may be an early sign of cognitive impairment.
Misplacing or forgetting things, however, is just one indicator of cognitive impairment. Other common things to look out for include:
- If your loved one has trouble constructing sentences or explaining something
- If your loved one seems sad or disengaged
- If your loved one has difficulty completing familiar tasks
- If your loved one has difficulty navigating familiar paths, like routes to work or a family member’s house
- If your loved one has become physically weak
You may misinterpret some of these things as just part of aging — which they can be, but the key is to notice when these changes impact daily life. If your loved one does have symptoms of Alzheimer’s, taking action as soon as possible can impact the disease’s progression. Talk to them about what you’ve been noticing, and discuss whether it’s time to make a doctor’s appointment.
2. Once you notice these early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, talk to your loved one.
If you think your loved one is experiencing some of the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, sit down with them in private and talk to them. They have probably been noticing changes as well, and having a conversation with them early on allows you to work together to decide next steps, like scheduling a doctor’s appointment.
If your loved one has already been diagnosed with a type of dementia, you’ll want to talk about options for managing the disease, whether that’s taking medication, participating in clinical trials or adding activities like art therapy or music therapy into their lives.
3. Keep other health and lifestyle factors in mind.
Many health choices can affect the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, including diet and exercise. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Whether or not your loved one is displaying some of the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, they should be making healthy choices, like:
- Keeping up with regular exercise, which some studies link to neurogenesis
- Maintaining a diet with healthy foods like salmon or other coldwater fish, leafy green vegetables, olive oil, nuts and berries, which all positively impact the brain
- Monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar, as well as visiting the doctor annually
All of these healthy habits can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. They also help prevent other health problems like stroke and heart disease.
Join Us at these Upcoming Events
May 9, 2019 – CMSS and the The Alzheimer’s Association Present: Effective Communication Strategies
2:00pm – 3:00pm at Covenant Home of Chicago
May 22, 2019 – Continuing Education Event – Newly Diagnosed Illness – Alzheimer’s or Dementia – What are the Next Steps?
5:30pm – 7:00pm at Covenant Home of Chicago