Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that usually occurs from the age of 60. With the means at our disposal today, unfortunately its course is unstoppable. At first it develops slowly: you have difficulty remembering certain things and, later, you have more severe memory losses to the point of not recognizing your family members. It is then that people with Alzheimer’s depend on others.
During the early stages of this disorder, parts of the brain that control thinking, memory and language begin to be compromised. For this reason, while Alzheimer’s may appear to come silently, there are actually some signs that can indicate its presence, even when it’s not very obvious.
1. Carrying out daily chores becomes more difficult
It is normal to forget the keys inside the house from time to time, to pay a bill or some other commitment. However, for people who are starting to suffer from Alzheimer’s this happens much more frequently and, at times, can be a real danger.
For example, they can leave the gas open without realizing it, with the consequent risk. Likewise, they can leave a cake in the oven and forget to take it out. Sometimes these people also forget how to prepare certain simple dishes and, even, how to serve them, that is, they do not remember how to arrange the plates, napkins, what cutlery to put on the table …
2. Communication problems are significant
On some occasions it has happened to everyone to experience the phenomenon we know as “having it on the tip of the tongue”. However, this common phenomenon, which alludes to an information retrieval problem, can have a more serious meaning in some people. In fact, it may be the sign of an Alzheimer’s principle.
People with this condition have serious difficulties in finding the right word when they try to communicate something. Sometimes it is difficult for them to even complete a sentence or give it the proper meaning. This happens because they are unable to replace the word they have “on the tip of their tongue” with a synonym or to be able to explain what they mean by using other words.
Due to this disease, people with Alzheimer’s begin to have increasingly evident communication problems, their vocabulary is reduced and they forget very simple words, of daily use and without which it is difficult to express themselves in a coherent and understandable way.
3. Disorientation in known places
One of the most important red flags of Alzheimer’s is disorientation. People with this form of dementia get lost when they leave, despite being in their neighborhood. Sometimes they can experience brief episodes of disorientation within their own home.
Suddenly they don’t know where the bathroom is or they don’t recognize the house they live in. Experiencing this situation can cause them severe episodes of stress and anxiety. These signs should not be underestimated, however short they are, as they can indicate an Alzheimer’s picture.
4. Difficulty thinking abstractly
If we leave our children with their grandfather or grandmother and they completely forget about them, it can be a wake-up call for Alzheimer’s. A temporary distraction is normal, but people with Alzheimer’s forget their responsibilities altogether and also have difficulty accessing the memory when they are told what or to whom they should be careful.
This also happens when they are looking for something. People with Alzheimer’s lose objects very easily, because they usually store sugar in an inappropriate place, such as the oven or refrigerator.
In this way, when they look for it in the place that corresponds to it, they do not find it and do not remember where they put it. Sometimes they even forget what they were doing. For example, if they are cleaning and go to get the broom to sweep, it is possible that in the meantime they forget that they were cleaning and start to engage in another activity.
5. Very abrupt mood swings
People with Alzheimer’s experience very abrupt mood swings with no apparent cause. They may start crying even though they were quiet a moment before or they may get angry even though they were smiling and showing some serenity.
In addition to all this, moreover, a change is produced that makes the presence of this dementia evident, that is, they lose the desire to do things. Forgetting what you were doing, the disorientation and mood swings these people suffer exhausts them to the point of making them tire easily, which makes them very passive in carrying out any activity.
These are some red flags that can alert us to possible dementia. It is necessary to underline that at the beginning they can be almost imperceptible, interpreted as normal phenomena that happen to everyone and that we do not take into consideration. However, over time they will become more and more evident, clear and frequent.
Detecting them when Alzheimer’s is still in its early stages will make treatment more effective, thereby delaying the disease. In this way, the patient will be able to maintain their independence for longer and prevent a rapid reduction in their quality of life.