The Early Detection of Alzheimer’s: What to Look For
When should you worry about your senior loved one? You certainly don’t want to jump to conclusions, but there is no harm in monitoring their actions and behaviors. The early detection of Alzheimer’s can help delay some of the symptoms by allowing your senior loved one to take preventive steps for brain health.
It’s common to have forgetful moments, especially as we age. Our brains age as well, meaning they get slower, and our cognitive function is reduced. Therefore, it makes sense when a senior may be a little slower to recall someone’s name or even a word.
While Alzheimer’s is not treatable, it is still important to catch the early signs of it. It can be a relief to finally understand what is going on with your senior loved one. Typically, they will feel the same. Knowing that Alzheimer’s has been the cause of some negative behaviors can help family members understand rather than feel angry or confused.
With the help of your senior loved one’s physician, you will have more time to come up with a plan. For some seniors who are only beginning to show symptoms of the disease, a memory care community such as Kensington Place Redwood City could be beneficial. Here, seniors can easily move to the memory care residence as their symptoms progress.
What Are the Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?
If memory issues are not affecting your senior loved one’s daily life, you probably have little to worry about. Signs of memory loss associated with a healthy brain may include forgetting names, things, and events, and even having difficulty finding words.
The beginning signs of Alzheimer’s disease may vary from person to person. However, memory loss is usually one of the most common symptoms a senior will have, as well as slower cognitive functioning and impaired reasoning and judgment. While it may be more challenging at this point, this is when it would be most beneficial for your senior loved one to receive a diagnosis.
If your senior loved one needs information to be repeated to them often, gets lost even at familiar places, and can’t seem to recall where they put objects, their disease might be progressing from mild to severe. The only way to know for sure is to speak with their physician. It also helps to be prepared and informed.
Continue reading below to see signs of mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer’s.
Signs of mild Alzheimer’s Disease
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment
- Taking longer to complete tasks
- Repeating the same question
- Having a hard time paying bills
- Losing or misplacing things
- Mood and personality changes
- Increased anxiety and aggression
Signs of moderate Alzheimer’s Disease
- Increased memory loss and confusion
- Inability to learn new things
- Difficulty reading, writing, and working with numbers
- Difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking logically
- Shortened attention span
- Hard time coping with new situations
- Difficulty getting dressed
- May not recognize family and friends
- Hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions
- Impulsive behavior
- Inappropriate outbursts of anger
- Restlessness, agitation, and anxiety
Signs of advanced Alzheimer’s Disease
- Inability to communicate
- Weight loss
- Skin infections
- Difficulty swallowing
- Groaning, moaning, or grunting
- Increased sleeping
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
How is Alzheimer’s actually detected and diagnosed by a physician?
When you notice the red flags for memory loss and warning signs of Alzheimer’s, the best thing you can do for your senior loved one is schedule an appointment with their physician. By doing this, you will be able to get a diagnosis, plan ahead, take the proper next steps, and find the support they may need.
As of now, there is no single test that can determine Alzheimer’s. It will take multiple doctors and approaches to get your senior loved one diagnosed. Typically, their physician, a neurologist, and a geriatrician will work together and review their medical history and symptoms.
Before a diagnosis can be made, your senior loved one’s doctors will rule out any other diseases and conditions, such as past strokes, depression, thyroid disorders, a vitamin B-12 deficiency, and Parkinson’s disease. They will also conduct a mental status test and neuropsychological tests. Family and friends may be interviewed initially, as it is usually a senior’s loved ones who notice ongoing symptoms.
While brain-imaging tests cannot necessarily show that a senior has Alzheimer’s, they can be used to rule out conditions that are causing the same symptoms. Hemorrhages, brain tumors, strokes, and other types of degenerative brain disease show up on brain-imaging tests. If none of these conditions are found, your senior loved one’s doctors will be able to narrow down the cause of their symptoms.
The most common tests used for this are:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computerized tomography (CT)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
After your senior loved one’s assessments and testing are completed, their doctors can tell you if they have Alzheimer’s. Depending on the severity, you may decide on in-home care, assisted living, or a memory care community. Either way, the doctors can teach you and other family members about strategies to enhance your senior loved one’s quality of life.
Options for care and adapting to change
Early Alzheimer’s detection will help you, your senior loved one, and their caregivers plan for the future. The earlier the diagnosis, the more options your senior loved one will have.
In the earliest stages of the disease, a senior may thrive with in-home care. Many prefer this in the beginning because they are comfortable in their homes and feel like they still have their freedom.
While in-home care can be an excellent choice for some, it does have its downfalls. It could be an expensive choice if your senior loved one needs a lot of care and varied services. The more hours a caregiver is in their home, the more it will cost. With this option, seniors may have fewer options for receiving extensive medical care at home.
Another option for a senior with Alzheimer’s is a memory care community. While a senior may be hesitant to move at first, most adapt quickly and enjoy their new homes and lives. They may initially feel that they had more freedom at home, only to discover they were lonely. Once moved into a memory care community, they can build and maintain relationships, join daily activities, and receive a full spectrum of care.
Kensington Place’s Promise
A memory care community can provide seniors with everything they need while enriching their lives. If you choose Kensington Place Redwood City, your senior will be provided with opportunities to socialize daily, build and maintain friendships, and receive state-of-the-art care from professional and compassionate staff.
We offer a safe and friendly environment while emphasizing the health and well-being of our residents. Our staff not only provides expert-level care, but holds a deeply valued Promise to love and care for your family, as we do our own.
If you have any questions or would like to receive information about our two cozy neighborhoods dedicated to our memory loss residents, please reach out to us.