As one age, it’s normal to become a little forgetful and to not be as sharp as you once were. However, there comes a point where forgetfulness and issues learning and memorizing new information become alarming. For those with chronic, abnormal changes in mental and cognitive sharpness, they may later be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.
Unfortunately, even though an approximate 5.7 million Americans are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the condition. On a broad scale, we don’t entirely know what causes it from the start. It’s also not apparent at this point that a cure is out there.
Apart from the latter, the symptoms that come with Alzheimer’s are often unheard of, yet many of the symptoms signal that it’s time to get help. In fact, the following Alzheimer’s symptoms should be worrisome
1. Inability to create new memories
As if having difficulty recalling old memories and other information wasn’t already bad enough, individuals with Alzheimer’s usually begin to have trouble creating new memories, both short- and long-term. This can make past, current, and future life a battle for everyone involved.
Because of their inability to form new memories, those with Alzheimer’s might repeat the same things over and over again to their loved ones. They may even have difficulty remembering whether or not they’ve eaten that day or even recognizing the faces and names of new and old friends. In turn, poor self-care habits and declining relationships may result.
Perhaps one of the most unheard of symptoms of Alzheimer’s is hallucinations. Hallucinations might include seeing, tasting, feeling, smelling, or hearing things that aren’t really there. Some might not understand why Alzheimer’s could cause hallucinations. However, it’s important to remember that Alzheimer’s is a general deterioration of the brain, not just a memory issue.
Hallucinations can be frightening for many Alzheimer’s sufferers. Alzheimer patients may become paranoid during or after a hallucination. However, hallucinations don’t just affect the sufferer; they can affect their loved ones, as well as the sufferer, may talk to someone who isn’t there, yell out, or appear to panic.
Suffering from Alzheimer’s can be frustrating; imagine being chronically forgetful, not remembering your loved one’s faces or the memories you’ve made with them, and dealing with a plethora of other frightening symptoms.
Apart from dealing with the symptoms themselves, possibly having to take medication, go to the doctor for frequent checkups, and be cared for by others is also often defeating for those suffering from the condition. Alzheimer’s diagnosis may feel a lack of independence because they often must have someone watch over them.
Unfortunately, because agitation is one symptom of Alzheimer’s, aggression may also follow as the disease progresses. Those with Alzheimer’s may verbally lash out or even physically strike a loved one or caretaker due to their agitation.
Another concerning symptom of Alzheimer’s is delusions. A delusion is a belief that is made and kept by someone despite there being logical or rational reasons not to believe it. Delusions usually don’t strike Alzheimer’s patients until the middle or later stages of their disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, having delusions may cause Alzheimer’s patients to become suspicious or paranoid that someone is stealing their belongings or that someone is out to get them when there is zero evidence at hand to believe such.
The delusions of many Alzheimer’s patients also often sets them up at risk of being taken advantage by others, including family members, friends, and even professional caregivers. For instance, one might be quick to believe that they won a million dollars when they open up a sketchy e-mail. In response, they may give their personal information to this scammer.
5. Personality changes
As Alzheimer’s progresses, the diagnosee may have noticeable personality changes. Their social and behavioral responses may be different from before. They may even have a different attitude, set of beliefs, and interests. Although it is normal to have to change personality overtime, personality changes in Alzheimer’s patients are severe and sometimes sudden.
Unfortunately, the personality changes in an Alzheimer’s patient can be very unsettling for their family and friends. This symptom is one reason why loved ones might pull away and stop visiting; they may feel like the diagnosee is no longer the same person they once were.
However, personality and mood changes usually start appearing in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Forgetfulness and difficulty remembering both old and current information can also lead to another symptom of Alzheimer’s: disorientation. Disorientation can be described as mental confusion, typically in the form of forgetting where one is, what time it is, or what they are or were about to do.
While temporary disorientation is not completely uncommon, especially in those with anxiety, depression, a sleep disorder, or a high-stress lifestyle, disorientation in Alzheimer’s patients is usually quite frequent, severe, and long-lasting. In severe cases, disorientation may occur several times in one day for someone with Alzheimer’s.
7. Loss of appetite
Memory problems and general forgetfulness already make it difficult for those with Alzheimer’s to remember important self-care regimes like eating. However, another battle to add on top of not remembering if they already ate, Alzheimer’s patients may also suffer from a lack of appetite.
Failing to remember to eat and not having a typical appetite are a bad combination as. Those with Alzheimer’s may eat very little if at all as their condition progresses. They may even forget how to cook, stick to a well-balanced diet, and even how to swallow. For the latter reasons, Alzheimer’s patients usually require a caregiver at some point.
If you know someone with Alzheimer’s, you can learn more about the condition and how sufferers can get the care they need from the Seasons Memory Care website.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, some of the symptoms can be treated if detected early. Regardless, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s should be concerning enough to influence one to get the help their loved one requires. Apart from getting help from a medical professional, receiving support from family members can help make Alzheimer’s potentially easier journey.