Alzheimer’s Disease is so prominent in America, being the 6th leading cause of death and 5.3 million people suffering – and countless caregivers affected. At this point, many people are familiar with the cognitive symptoms: memory loss, mood swings, inability to speak or recall names and places. However, those mental signs aren’t the most reliable if you have a forgetful elder (naturally) or if you’re not spending a great deal of time with your loved one.
However, for many elders, cognitive problems are discreet and may not be noticeable to their adult children. For that reason, it’s important to be informed about the physical signs of Alzheimers, so that, if your loved one is suffering, you can get them the treatment they need to slow its progression.
Watch to see if your elder is repeating the same actions over and over again. You may be able to have a completely coherent conversation with them, but if they’re continually opening and closing the fridge, walking back and forth (aimlessly) between rooms, or even looking for their keys when they’ve already found them, then they may be suffering from dementia.
If your elder wears the same outfit every single day you see them, this could be symptomatic of Alzheimer’s. Usually, in conjunction with repeated outfits, seniors suffering from dementia will neglect personal hygiene – either from forgetfulness (to do laundry) or apathy. Pay attention to what they’re wearing.
That said, some people dress comfortably (or casually) no matter what, so this largely applies to those seniors who would otherwise dress for each occasion.
Fine Motor Skills
This one is especially noticeable during dinner, so if you see your elder struggling to hold their utensils, then something may be amiss.
Our fine motor skills are typically affected by adverse brain activity (see Strokes) and this holds true for seniors suffering Alzheimer’s.
If you’re not around your loved one every day, this is an important one not to miss. If your elder has bruises or cuts that they can’t seem to remember how they got there, then they may be suffering Alzheimer’s.
A common cognitive symptom for those suffering Alzheimer’s is sundowning or wandering. Both of these things are dangerous, and together they’re mortifying. If your elder is experiencing these telltale dementia symptoms, then they’re probably getting hurt or injured from the places they’ve wandered to. This is especially dangerous in highly populated areas where they can easily be taken advantage of or hurt.
Ask about their bruising. For that matter, always inspect their car (if they’re still driving). If you start noticing dents and your senior doesn’t recall how they got it, then something is wrong.
Remember that Alzheimer’s Disease is best managed when it’s detected early. There is no cure, but there are tools to increase brain function and slow the progression of the disease. The hardest part is losing your loved one bit by bit. By watching for the signs, you can ensure your loved one is safe and get help before it gets worse.