Surprising early signs of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that attacks the memory. We all know that as we get older we’ll have trouble remembering where we left things. If that becomes a regular occurrence, we know it is one way of identifying the presence of Alzheimer’s. But what are the other signs? Here are ten signs that you may or may not recognize as related to dementia.

1. Frequent Falling

Depth perception is a major factor in Alzheimer’s patients. Many cannot recognize how far away a step is, therefore causing the patient to fall instead of landing directly on that step. The Alzheimer’s Association notes, “They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection.”

2. Difficulty Using Common Household Objects

Does grandma consistently need to call you up for help with the TV remote? Or she can’t seem to figure out how to start the stovetop? George Perry, Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, says that’s when you need to start worrying —when she can’t figure out what locks her keys go to or where to pick up her mail from, it’s time for her to see a doctor.

3. Trouble Writing Or Talking

Trouble communicating is one of the major signs of Alzheimer’s. Often, patients cannot remember why they started a conversation, have trouble remembering the word they want to use, or simply forget the topic at hand.

4. Depression or Mood Swings

Well, if you couldn’t remember where you were or who you were with, you’d be pretty frustrated too, wouldn’t you? As a result of the disease, many patients can become confused, upset, anxious or depressed. Especially if an individual has not suffered from depression previously, Alzheimer’s may be the cause. If you discover your loved one exhibiting mood swings or depressive symptoms, head to a licensed professional as soon as possible for treatment of depression.

5. Eating Inappropriate Things

Perry notes that the disease can bring about changes in the metabolism as well, causing patients to not only eat more but to sometimes eat inedible items. If the brain sends a message that you’re hungry, but you don’t remember what is actual food and what isn’t, it can become easy to chow down on something like paper if it’s close at hand.

6. Withdrawal From Social Life

Along with depression and mood swings comes a general withdrawal and removing oneself from daily life, family and friends. Alzheimer’s patients can be unhappy and weary of everyday activities and even become slower and uneasy with activities they previously enjoyed.

7. Poor Judgment

Misperception is another factor in diagnosing Alzheimer’s. Along with eating inedible objects, patients might even break the law because their ability to discern right from wrong is at risk. Poor judgment is also extended to financial management and personal hygiene.

8. Inability To Perform Basic Problem-Solving

We’re not just talking about puzzles like crosswords and sudoku. This also means things like balancing a checkbook or adding up a grocery list or following a basic recipe for dinner. 

9. Forgetting Time Or Place

If dad consistently asks you where he is or what time it is, or can’t even remember what year it is, then there’s a problem. Memory loss affects one’s sense of time too, and that includes dates as well as surroundings. 

10. Getting Lost

This goes right along with forgetting time or place. Even if a patient is just one block from home, he can get confused and not recognize where he is. These are the types of signs that friends and family need to watch out for — if a patient gets lost easily, it may be time to put them in an assisted living home or provide a round-the-clock caregiver to be sure he is safe at all times.