It can be tricky to know whether a loved one is experiencing memory loss and other symptoms associated with normal aging or developing Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, some individuals experience mild cognitive impairment, which can be a sign someone will develop Alzheimer’s — but can also be a standalone condition. Recognizing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease is critical in ensuring that your loved one receives the proper care and support they need as soon as possible.
Keep reading to learn about common early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and get information about how Alzheimer’s disease progresses and when to consider memory care.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease onset is believed to result from a buildup of proteins (amyloid plaques and tau) in and around brain cells. Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease occurs in individuals under 65 and can manifest in a person’s 30s. Early Alzheimer’s disease refers to the second stage of the disease. There’s no such thing as mild Alzheimer’s because the condition is chronic and progressive, but there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can slow progress and keep symptoms under control.
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms vary from person to person, but there are some common signs associated with each of the four stages, which are:
- Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease
- Early-stage Alzheimer’s
- Moderate Alzheimer’s disease
- Severe Alzheimer’s
Are the Early Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease the Same as Mild Dementia Symptoms?
Alzheimer’s is a specific brain disease and form of dementia, an umbrella term that describes an inability to think, remember or make decisions that disrupt daily life. While Alzheimer’s is the most common form, there are other types.
What Are the Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease – Discover Its Symptoms
The nine early symptoms of Alzheimer’s are:
- Memory loss
- Trouble understanding visual images
- Difficulty concentrating
- Struggling to complete familiar tasks
- Poor judgment
- Forgetting events
- Not understanding spatial relationships
- Trouble finding the right word
- Decision-making difficulties
As the disease progresses and further brain changes occur, symptoms increase in severity. The person living with Alzheimer’s may find solving problems increasingly challenging, and impaired judgment is likely to get worse. They might struggle with severe memory problems, withdraw socially, experience sleep disturbances and have inappropriate outbursts.
Late-stage Alzheimer’s is characterized by the loss of communication skills, weight loss, difficulty swallowing and loss of bowel and bladder control.
The most significant known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is old age. While dementia cases are common in older people, that doesn’t mean developing the disease is a normal part of getting older. Other risk factors include:
- Family history
- Head injury
- Poor heart health
It’s believed that an unhealthy lifestyle can contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s. As such, having a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chances of developing the disease or slow its progress. That means avoiding smoking, eating healthy, being socially active, minimizing alcohol intake and exercising the mind and body.
Choosing Memory Care for a Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease
If your loved one is experiencing dementia-like symptoms, it’s worth seeing a doctor for a checkup. The person, their family members and a health care team can work together to decide whether it’s best to move into a senior living facility with memory care services.
Come and take a look around our luxurious home-away-from-home community for older adults here at Bel Air Assisted Living in Harford County. Call our compassionate team today at 410-893-9164 to find out more.