Like many things in life, our memories and the ability to retain them is something we should not take for granted.
With one new case of dementia every four seconds worldwide, this is a real problem that could easily afflict any of us and our loved ones. Knowing your enemy is half the battle won, and detecting the early signs and symptoms is an important step in dealing with the disease. Here are some common signs that may appear subtle but are worth taking note of.
Loss of memory
Does your loved one keep forgetting what the date is or encounter difficulty remembering names he or she has just learned? Are they heavily reliant on Post-it notes or reminders on their smartphones in keeping track of important events? For people with early Alzheimer’s, memory loss can sometimes be passed off as a sign of old age or mere forgetfulness.
Confusion over time and places
If your loved one has a tendency to get lost or gets disoriented easily, it could be dementia at work. All of us have lost our way at some point in time, but an increased frequency of losing track of where we are or how we got there may point to something more serious. The notion of time is also something people with dementia struggle with.
Problems in speech and writing
Does your loved one always struggle to come up with the write words? People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop talking abruptly in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to pick up from there, or they may repeat themselves.
Withdrawal from work and activities
While we all get weary of work and social obligations from time to time, a person with Alzheimer’s may face problems keeping up with a favourite sport or completing a hobby, resulting in them losing interest and removing themselves from it. The changes they deal with may also make them shun social activities and people.
A study suggests trouble balancing the checkbook is often one of the first signs of the disease. Alzheimer’s affects concentration, which makes tasks like paying the bills or even counting change difficult. Besides money-related matters, they may also shower less often or wear clothes that are not appropriate for the weather or occasion.