Alzheimer’s disease is an uncomfortable topic. It is the most common form of dementia. It is a serious disease that occurs later in life. It can affect a person’s ability to think, remember, and function.
It’s also a topic we need to talk about.
The problem is that people tend to ignore the early signs of Alzheimer’s when they see them. Maybe it looks like something else. For one reason or another, they find a reason not to act. Maybe they only see the person (and their symptoms) infrequently. Or maybe it’s too uncomfortable to admit, and to confront.
It may be uncomfortable, but it is the only way to help. If you see the signs, it’s important to urge your loved ones to talk to the doctor. Early diagnosis means early treatment – and that means more years of being independent and having control over one’s life.
So what are the early signs of Alzheimer’s?
- Difficulty remembering things that just happened. Sometimes this comes across as repeating the same story.
- Difficulty remembering common words. Example: calling a cell phone a “hand machine.”
- Misplacing items frequently.
- Showing trouble with tasks that are familiar or routine.
Another common sign that many people don’t think about is mood swings. Sometimes, Alzheimer’s can look like depression. Having trouble with memory and common tasks is frightening. It can lead a person to become angry, suspicious, or withdrawn. It is almost impossible to admit it’s happening to yourself, and ask for help. That’s why when you see it in a loved one, you have to be willing to act for them.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but we can’t let that be a reason to pretend it isn’t there. If a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s, do not ignore it. Be brave. Get it diagnosed so a doctor can begin treatment. It may be uncomfortable, but it is an act of love.