Recognizing the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
By Megan Morrow
Published November 11, 2019
Worldwide, about 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and they face significant challenges and changes in memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November, which was launched by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, increases awareness of the disease, its warning signs and the importance of early detection.
Risk factors include family history and genetics as well as diet and exercise, social interaction and cardiovascular health issues. While there is no “cure” for Alzheimer’s disease, treatments can slow its progression.
If you are worried that someone in your life may be experiencing early signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, pay attention to the following warning signs and schedule a checkup if you have any concerns:
- Memory loss: While it is normal to forget where you put your keys or glasses on occasion, when people begin to repeatedly struggle with remembering details or finding misplaced objects, this may be a sign of something more significant. Common activities, like paying bills and using the remote control, may become difficult for someone with early Alzheimer’s disease.
- Repeating the same questions and stories. When someone asks you the same question within a span of just a few minutes or tells you a story you have heard many times before, this can also be cause for concern.
- Difficulty in planning or following directions. Getting lost on familiar routes, taking longer to complete common tasks and an inability to make plans can all be signs.
- Forgetting the day of the week. If your friend or loved one is regularly losing track of time or place, you may want to connect with a medical professional.
- New problems with speaking or writing. Another potential warning sign is struggling with vocabulary or difficulty in following a conversation.
- Personality changes. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia often experience sudden shifts in personality and mood, including confusion, depression, frustration and suspicion. Withdrawal from activities often follows as people struggle with connection and understanding.
To support someone experiencing Alzheimer’s disease, you can help them maintain a regular routine to prevent further confusion, keep things simple and avoid talking or moving too fast, offering reassurance and avoiding arguments. You may also need to plan now for future professional care.
While Alzheimer’s and dementia can be frightening for everyone involved, early detection and treatment can help families and friends offer the best support and reassurance for their loved one. The Alzheimer’s Association also has more information on the latest news, research and support.
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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor. The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.