- Jennifer Munt
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s
Sometimes I go to the kitchen and by the time I get there I’ve forgotten why I made the trip. Was I looking for ice cream or a pen? That experience is common and normal at any age.
But memory loss can be a sign of something more serious. In the United States, more than 6 million people have Alzheimer’s and over 11 million family members or friends care for them.
No wonder so many Teamsters contact us for help when memory loss has disrupted their lives. It’s a crisis that no one should face alone. That is why our Teamsters Service Bureau has teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Association. Together we can support caregivers and those living with the disease.
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. Here are 10 warning signs and symptoms.
1) Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stage, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking the same questions over and over, and needing to rely on reminder notes or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
2) Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people living with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in their ability to develop a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things.
3) Difficulty completing familiar tasks. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes they may have trouble driving to a familiar location, organizing a grocery list, or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
4) Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
5) Trouble understanding visual images and special relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. This may lead to difficulty with balance or trouble reading. They may also have problems judging distance and determining color or contrast, causing issues with driving.
6) New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue. They may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary and have trouble naming a familiar object.
7) Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. People with Alzheimer’s may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them. They may accuse others of stealing, especially as the disease progresses.
8) Decreased or poor judgment. Individuals may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money or pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
9) Withdrawal from work or social activities. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in the ability to hold or follow a conversation. As a result, they may withdraw from hobbies and social activities. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite team or television show.
10) Changes in mood and personality. Individuals living with Alzheimer’s may experience mood or personality changes. They may become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, with friends, or when out of their comfort zone.
Get checked. If you notice any of the warning signs in yourself or someone you know, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. With early detection, there are treatments that may provide some symptom relief and help you be independent longer.
Alzheimer’s is a disease – and no one should face it alone. If you notice memory changes in friends or family, it can be difficult to know what to do or say. The Alzheimer’s Association has resources and specialists who can help you. For tips to have a conversation about memory concerns, visit https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10-steps. To talk with an Alzheimer’s expert, call their 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900.
Teamsters Service Bureau