June 1st kicked off Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. People around the world are encouraged to wear purple for the campaign, and many cities and states are encouraging residents to think about their brain health in some way. At Homewatch CareGivers of Overland Park, we work around the clock to support clients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Right now over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and many more go undiagnosed. Alzheimer’s isn’t always easily recognizable in its early stages, but, according to the Alzheimer's Association, it’s important to get diagnosed as early as possible in order to have the best possible outcome. Early-onset Alzheimer’s can appear as early as a person’s 30’s, and late onset typically occur in someone’s mid-60’s.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, here are 4 early signs to be on the lookout for.
1. Memory Loss
One of the most common early symptoms is memory loss. If you suddenly can’t remember where you put your car keys, or whether you fed the dog or not, it could just be too much stress—or it could be something more.
If you find that you are consistently forgetting things more than normal, it may be time to go in for a screening with your doctor. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be Alzheimer’s, they may be able to help find out the cause of your forgetfulness and get you back on track.
2. Mood or personality changes
One early sign of Alzheimer’s that our caregivers look out for that isn’t quite as subtle as memory loss, is mood or personality changes. If you’re normally a warm and friendly person and suddenly find yourself snapping at other people, or you’re normally aloof and suddenly find yourself a social butterfly, it could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.
3. Repeating questions
Do you have to ask someone the same question over and over? This is another early symptom of Alzheimer’s that we see. If you notice this along with many of the other symptoms, it may be time to see your doctor and mention your symptoms.
4. Getting lost
A more serious sign of Alzheimer’s that is not so easy to dismiss is wandering or getting lost. If you used to be a wizard with a map or GPS and suddenly find yourself getting lost when you really shouldn’t be, this could be an early sign of the disease.
What to do if you think you have Alzheimer’s
If you notice a lot of these signs for yourself or a loved one, the first step is to see a doctor. A medical professional can run tests that signal the start of Alzheimer’s and get a game plan together to help you manage the disease. If the signs that you notice are related to a loved one, encouraging them to see a doctor can help them detect Alzheimer’s early.
If you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, take the time you need to accept and understand your disease. Detecting it early can give you a chance to make plans, manage symptoms, and take back control of your life. If you are concerned about progression of the disease, we can help. We can help you plan for the future, and assist you with things like getting to your appointments, doing housework, and making sure you have the support you need to live your best life. Contact us for more information and guidance.