Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which affects around 850,000 people in the UK. Alzheimer’s makes up between 50% and 75% of all dementia cases and causes memory loss, confusion, and speech problems. Although there is currently no cure for dementia, there are several treatments which can delay or slow down its progress. The key to effective treatment is early diagnosis, so it’s crucial to spot the signs quickly. In today’s article, we will talk you through the most common early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Who can get Alzheimer’s Disease?
Forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s mainly affect people over the age of 65. In fact, one in 14 people in this age group has dementia. The likelihood of developing dementia increases significantly with age. However, dementia can affect younger people too. There are more than 42,000 people in the UK under 65 with dementia.
What Causes Dementia? Can It Be Treated?
Nobody really knows what causes dementia. However, scientists believe that there are many different factors which contribute to your risk of developing the disease. These include lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol, as well as genetic and environmental factors.
10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
1. Speech Problems and Changes
As we age, it’s perfectly normal to have trouble finding the right word every now and then. However, if you notice that your elderly loved one is having trouble following conversations, it’s worth looking out for any of the other signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Speech issues to look out for include:
- Struggling to name a familiar object
- Using the wrong names for everyday things
- Repeating themselves or stopping mid-conversation
2. Memory Loss
This is probably the first symptom that comes to mind when you think about signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Changes to short-term memory can indicate that something isn’t quite right. These changes could involve forgetting events and appointments or struggling to remember recently learned information. Your loved one might start relying on their relatives to remember things for them, or might need to write down reminders for themselves.
3. Trouble With Everyday Tasks
One of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease is struggling to complete familiar, everyday tasks. This could include getting lost on the way to a familiar location or struggling to cook an easy meal, for example.
4. Difficulty Concentrating
If your loved one is showing early signs of Alzheimer’s, they might struggle to concentrate, especially with problem-solving tasks such as managing bills and expenses. They might also take much longer to complete these tasks than they previously did.
5. Losing Things
From time to time, we all forget where we’ve left our glasses or the remote control. However, if your loved one is misplacing things more frequently, this can be a sign of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. They might also have difficulty retracing their steps.
6. Changes in Judgement and Decision-Making
They might make unusual or reckless decisions when it comes to money. Alternatively, they might struggle to keep up with personal hygiene and grooming.
7. Vision Problems
Our eyesight naturally deteriorates over time and cataracts are a common problem among elderly people. Nevertheless, look out for trouble with reading, judging distances, identifying colours, and balance. Any of these issues could be signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
8. Becoming Withdrawn
As a result of speech issues and trouble following conversations, someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may become withdrawn. They might start to avoid social interactions, work, and/or hobbies.
9. Losing Track of Time and Dates
People who have Alzheimer’s can become confused about where they are or how they got there. They can also struggle to keep track of dates and have difficulty understanding when something is going to happen if it isn’t happening immediately.
10. Mood Changes
All of the signs of Alzheimer’s we’ve discussed can lead to confusion, anxiety, and even feelings of depression. Therefore, people with early Alzheimer’s can often go through changes to their mood and personality. They might become easily upset or appear suspicious or fearful of seemingly normal things.
The Importance of Early Diagnosis
If you are experiencing any of these signs of Alzheimer’s disease – or you know someone who is – it’s important to make an appointment with a GP. They’ll be able to assess your symptoms and help you find out what’s going on. It’s only natural to feel anxious about health worries, but don’t let that stop you from taking action.
How Careline Can Help
A Careline alarm is perfect for anyone who may feel vulnerable at home, including older people, disabled people, people with health problems and people at risk of violence or theft. Careline alarms are especially useful for people at risk of falling. Our alarm systems allow the user to call for help whenever they need it. This might be because they have fallen and need assistance or because of a medical emergency.
The alarm system raises an alert with our 24/7 Care Team who will be able to assess the situation quickly. They’ll get in touch with with the user’s chosen emergency contacts and, if necessary, the emergency services. You can find out more about our services on our website, and also how the alarm system works by reading one of our many useful articles.
Note: We updated this article on 22/01/2021 to reflect the latest information. First published 18/07/2017.
Sources: Alzheimer’s Association