Alzheimer’s: Knowing What to Look Out For

Alzheimer’s disease is a disease close to my own heart. My mother developed early-onset Alzheimer’s and had to move to a nursing home when she was only 56 (and I was 22!). It’s estimated that half of adults over the age of 85, and one in eight over the age of 65, will develop Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms of this disease often mimic memory problems most older adults experience at some point. However, with Alzheimer’s, symptoms are much more severe. If you notice any of these warning signs, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Warning Sign 1: Planning Difficulties

As we get older we may be more prone to making checkbook errors or taking slightly longer to solve problems that used to be routine. For person with Alzheimer’s disease, not only do these problems become more prevalent, but they also become disruptive. Someone with Alzheimer’s may, for example, forget to pay bills months at a time, be unable to complete common tasks they want easily finished, or not be able to follow a familiar recipe.

Warning Sign 2: Visual Difficulties

Many people develop cataracts as they get older, a condition that impairs their ability to see clearly. A person with Alzheimer’s disease, however, will not only have vision difficulties but will have problems relating what they are seeing with concepts. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s may be unable to differentiate between colors or may not realize that they are alone in a room.

Warning Sign 3: Misplacing Objects

Everyone occasionally forgets where they left their cellular phone or car keys. A person with Alzheimer’s will experience these occasional memory lapses more frequently, and may begin placing objects in strange places. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s may place their car keys in the bathroom and, after being unable to find them, accuse someone else of having stolen them.