Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: Signs to Look Out for in a Relative

Alzheimer’s Disease

Are you worried about the health and mental sharpness of a senior loved one? Some forgetfulness and memory loss can be a normal part of growing older. If your relative tends to forget names temporarily but it comes back to them later, it is unlikely that they are dealing with a serious memory issue. However, if you have noticed that memory problems are having an increasing impact on their daily life, it’s wise to consider if they might be showing some early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. While the number and strength of the symptoms can vary, it’s wise to understand what the early signs are.

Memory Loss:

Memory loss is the most common symptom of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. If you have noticed that your relative is regularly forgetting information that they just learned, or is often losing track of important events, names, and dates, it might be a cause for concern. People with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease might forget big events that just happened, such as the birth of a new baby in the family, and they might ask you for the same information over and over again. If you are concerned about your senior relative’s ability to live safely on their own with these symptoms, retirement communities Los Gatos such as Belmont Village can help with expert residential memory care.

Daily Tasks are Challenging:

Another early sign to look out for in your relative is that daily tasks have become a challenge for them. If your relative used to love cooking but is now finding it difficult to make a simple meal, this could be cause for concern. Perhaps they are often getting lost when driving or walking to locations that they used to frequent a lot of the time or have forgotten the rules of their favorite card game that they’ve been playing every week for decades.

Problems With Planning and Problem Solving:

If your relative has suddenly started having problems with developing and sticking to plans, you are right to be concerned. Perhaps you have noticed that they are struggling to follow instructions for things like recipes that they have followed before or are struggling to concentrate on detailed tasks – especially ones that include numbers, such as setting a budget for the month.

Confusion With Places and Times:

One key sign of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease to be aware of is confusion around things that are not happening right now. Maybe you have noticed that your relative is unable to grasp concepts such as going to visit somebody later and forgets where their friends or family live if they are not there in the moment. Perhaps you have noticed more disorientation and getting lost easily or forgetting where they are and how they got there, even if they are at a place that they have visited hundreds of times in the past.

Communication Frustration:

Communication and having conversations with others can often become very frustrating for people suffering with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps you have noticed that your relative is frequently having issues with finding the words that they are looking for or has started calling things by the wrong name more often, without noticing or correcting themselves. Maybe a previously outgoing person has begun avoiding joining in with conversations or when they do, will struggle to follow along with what is being said. When having a conversation with a relative who is affected by early-onset Alzheimer’s, you might notice that they will suddenly stop during the middle of discussing something because they do not know what to say, or they repeat themselves more often.

Vision Changes:

Some vision worsening is quite normal as we get older and may not always be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. However, there may be some cause for concern if you notice that your relative is struggling to read words, especially if they are reading large letters that are designed to be easily seen. They might have more trouble judging distance and struggle to tell different colors apart, which can have an impact on their ability to drive.

Social Withdrawal:

Depression and isolation is increasingly common in older people and is not always the sign of a degenerative brain disease. However, people who are suffering with the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease might show some of the common signs of depression and social withdrawal due to the world and everybody in it becoming more confusing. They may spend more time at home and miss out on hobbies and activities that were once important to them, along with avoiding meeting up with friends and family and spending more time sleeping and watching television.

Losing Things:

Everybody misplaces things from time to time and it’s not usually a cause for concern. However, if you have noticed that your relative is losing things more often and is not able to find them again by retracing their steps, it may be worth keeping a close eye on them. A common sign of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is putting things in unusual places, like putting laundry in the dishwasher or putting the TV remote in the microwave. Perhaps you have noticed that your relative has begun accusing people of stealing from them, only to find the item that they have lost in a very unusual place.

What to Do Next:

If you have noticed any of these signs in a relative, it’s important to encourage them to see a doctor who will perform an evaluation of their physical and mental health. This will involve looking over their medical history and performing a mental status test which evaluates memory, problem-solving, and thinking skills. Blood tests or brain imaging might also be required. If the doctor suspects early-onset Alzheimer’s, your relative will be referred to somebody who specializes in the condition such as a neurologist, psychiatrist, or geriatrician. The sooner you make an appointment with the doctor, the better, since treating symptoms early can help to relieve the symptoms and help your relative stay independent for longer.

While some of these problems are a natural part of getting older, they can also be serious signs and symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and are worth getting checked out.