Recognizing the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

If you notice signs of memory loss in your loved one, it may be the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. According to the Alzheimer's Association, dementia is a term used to define a noticeable slump in cognitive strength that becomes an obstruction to everyday life. Therefore, dementia is not its own disease, but rather a term used to describe a variety of diseases that interfere with mental capacity.

The source also states that Alzheimer's is a form of dementia that causes behavioural and memory issues. According to the U.S. National Institute of Aging, this disease is considered a brain disorder that can destroy short-term and long-term memory and make everyday tasks troublesome due to diminished cognitive functioning.

"Memory loss is one sign of Alzheimer's."

It's important to recognize the early indicators of memory loss in your loved one so you can get them the support and care they need to enjoy a happy and healthy retirement. Still, while these signs may point to Alzheimer's, the only way to know for sure is to talk to your doctor. Here are five possible signs of Alzheimer's disease in seniors:

  1. Changes in personality – According to the Alzheimer's Association, a person with Alzheimer's disease may experience a change in mood and personality. Someone you know to be happy and cheerful may become puzzled and depressed.
  2. Frequent confusion – Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer's disease. If your loved one begins to forget important dates and relies heavily on reminder notes, or can't remember the names of close family members, they may be experiencing signs of dementia.
  3. Problems with communication – The Alzheimer's Association notes that people with the disease may have trouble communicating. Whether your loved one stops in the middle of a discussion or has problems following other people's conversations, this may be a sign of Alzheimer's. Health magazine points out that people with Alzheimer's may use gestures instead of speaking if they are having trouble.
  4. Misplacing objects – Seniors with Alzheimer's may forget things frequently. If you find that your older parent places everyday objects in strange places often, it may be a sign of Alzheimer's.
  5. Wandering Health magazine reports that if your loved one has wandered aimlessly or become lost more than once, he or she may have the disease. Things that can cause old adults with dementia to wander include confusion, stress and unfamiliar people and places. 
If your loved one shows sign of confusion and forgetfulness in their daily routine, they may have Alzheimer's.
If your loved one shows sign of confusion and forgetfulness in his or her daily routine, it may be a sign of Alzheimer's.

An article from The National Institutes of Health magazine—NIH MedlinePlus—further explains that noticing one or more of these warning signs in your loved one should result in a visit to your loved one's doctor or an examination by a memory care specialist.

Many Chartwell retirement and long term care residences offer memory care or memory living programs and services for seniors managing dementia. To learn more about their supportive care and service options for residents living with cognitive impairment, click here.