Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to impact daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, and it accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. According to a recent newsletter provided by the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 warning signs that are associated with recognizing Alzheimer’s Disease:
1. Memory changes that disrupt daily life. This can be forgetting recently learned information, forgetting important dates/events, or asking for the same information over and over.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. An example of this impairment could be troubles following a family recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. This becomes more difficult for the person as time goes.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. Examples of this are experiencing difficulty with everyday tasks at home, work, or during leisure.
4. Confusion with time or place. Alzheimer’s patients lose track of time, dates, seasons, and have difficulty remembering where they are or how they got there.
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. A person may have difficulty with walking from a connected carpeted floor to tiled floor. Their depth perception is affected, and they may think that it is not safe stepping onto this “different” flooring.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. With this symptom, a person may begin having trouble following a conversation, stopping in the middle of a conversation and losing their train of thought, or even calling items by the wrong names.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. The person may misplace common household items or personal items they use often such as a checkbook. They may also accuse others of taking the item.
8. Decreased or poor judgment. This can be apparent when a person starts losing the ability to groom themselves or tend to their own hygiene needs. They can also become careless in judgment—for example, giving large amounts of money away to telemarketers, family, or friends.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. This is when the person starts avoiding social events, sporting events, or even performing hobbies that they have done normally in the past.
10. Changes in mood and personality. This becomes noticeable when someone becomes suspicious, fearful, or anxious with others.