Signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are sometimes confused by family members as just part of the normal aging process. But, there are key, subtle differences — and therefore it’s important for you to know how to recognize them. While there is no current cure — recognizing the signs will help you make life comfortable for your loved one.
Signs: How To Recognize Alzheimer’s
Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimer’s disease. Some people with memory problems have a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In MCI, people have more memory problems than normal for their age, but their symptoms do not interfere with their everyday lives. Movement difficulties and problems with the sense of smell have also been linked to MCI. Older people with MCI are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s, but not all of them do. Some may even go back to normal memory.
- Look for these symptoms:
- decline in word-finding,
- vision/spatial issues,
- impaired reasoning or judgment.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, people experience greater memory loss and other cognitive difficulties. Other problems include wandering, getting lost and trouble handling money. Additional behaviors can include paying bills, repeating questions, and inability to complete normal daily tasks.
People are often diagnosed in this stage.
In this stage, damage occurs in areas of the brain that control language, reasoning, sensory processing, and conscious thought. Memory loss and confusion grow worse, and patients have problems recognizing family and friends. They can’t learn new things, or carry out tasks such as getting dressed.
Patients can act impulsively and display delusions and paranoia.
Signs: Severe Stage
People with severe Alzheimer’s cannot communicate and are completely dependent on others for their care. Near the end, the person may be in bed most or all of the time as the body shuts down.