In Part One and Part Two of our series on understanding the common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, we discussed disruptive memory loss and changes in personality or mood, as well as difficulty solving problems and completing tasks. The Alzheimer’s Association designated 10 signs in total to help you recognize if your loved one is displaying any of the common Alzheimer’s symptoms. In this post, we’ll discuss two more signs of Alzheimer’s disease: confusion with time and place and displaying poor judgment.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition, meaning symptoms gradually worsen over time. While some of the milder signs of Alzheimer’ disease may arise in many older adults, it’s important to keep in mind that developing the disease is not a normal part of the aging process.
Signs of Alzheimer’s: Confusion with Time and Place
When an individual has Alzheimer’s disease, they often experience issues with their perception of time. For instance, you may have left the room for only ten minutes, but your loved one may think you’ve been gone for several hours, or even weeks, when you return. Dementia and confusion like this go hand in hand, especially during the later stages of the disease.
People with Alzheimer’s disease can completely forget what the current date is, or they may even think it’s summer when it’s actually wintertime. If something is not happening right now, they may not understand the issue at hand.
It’s also common for those with Alzheimer’s to get lost in familiar places – even their own homes. Or, they may arrive at a destination with no awareness of how they got there, and worse, cannot remember how to get home.
On the other hand, it’s normal for seniors to get confused occasionally about what day of the week it is. Sometimes in retirement the days do all tend to blend together! However, these seniors will eventually remember what the day and date is and go about their normal lives. A person with Alzheimer’s will be continually confused, even insisting it’s a certain date when it in fact, it is not.
Signs of Alzheimer’s: Displaying Poor Judgment
The confusion associated with dementia can also lead to the individuals making unwise decisions or a disruption in judgment skills that could lead to dangerous situations, like falling victim to a scam targeting seniors. In the beginning, the first signs of displaying poor judgment usually include financial decisions, such as frivolous spending when the individual has always been very cautious with their money.
You might notice your loved one dressing inappropriately for the weather, such as wearing shorts while there’s a snowstorm going on outside. People with Alzheimer’s may suddenly stop grooming themselves, washing clothes or tidying up the house due to the confusion created by brain changes related to Alzheimer’s.
We all make poor decisions from time to time, or take actions we might later regret. However, those with Alzheimer’s ultimately make such faulty decisions that their safety or health can become compromised.
Knowing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease is key to an early diagnosis that could delay the progression of some of the symptoms and improve your quality of life. Stay tuned for part four of this series for more information.
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