Growing older naturally leads to a variety of changes that can be chalked up to normal aspects of aging: hair, skin, vision, and metabolism changes, for instance. It’s even normal to experience some degree of memory impairment in later years. Yet it can be hard to discern typical cognitive functioning changes and those that could point to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
- Problem-solving and planning: Tasks such as making a recipe, paying bills, or following a map become more difficult. The ability to concentrate decreases.
- Acclimation to time and place: Alzheimer’s-related changes include losing track of the passage of time, including confusion around the date, season, or location.
- Communication: Participating in conversations appropriately, whether verbally or in writing, becomes a challenge, either through repetition or forgetting common words.
- Judgment: Poor decision-making and judgment is common in Alzheimer’s disease. This can be displayed through poor hygiene, or by making radical or risky decisions with finances, for example.
- Socialization: Those with Alzheimer’s often withdraw from social situations and even previously-enjoyed hobbies and interests.
- Memory: As opposed to normal memory lapses, such as forgetting someone’s name or a medical appointment (but remembering later), those with Alzheimer’s experience increasing difficulty with short-term memory, and need to rely heavily on notes and reminders to keep appointments.
- Performing tasks: Simple tasks such as playing a familiar board or card game, driving to a familiar location, or other everyday activities becomes challenging.
- Visual/spatial relationships: While vision problems are common for older adults, Alzheimer’s-related changes include difficulty with colors and contrasts, reading, and determining distance.
- Retracing steps: Lost objects become a more frequent occurrence, with the items discovered later in unusual places (such as the keys placed in the refrigerator).
- Personality/mood: Changes in mood and personality are common in Alzheimer’s, including increased anxiety, confusion, fearfulness and a sense of uneasiness, particularly when in unfamiliar environments.
If you notice any of these changes in a senior loved one, it’s important to schedule an appointment with the doctor as soon as possible.
Innovative Senior Solutions can help as well, with highly skilled Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care that allows family members to take much-needed breaks from care while knowing their loved one is in the very best of hands.
To learn more about our Macon, GA home care solutions for seniors, contact our professional care staff any time via our online form or at 229-928-3673. We’re always on hand to answer any questions you may have, or to schedule a free in-home consultation to learn more about your particular challenges and to offer solutions to improve quality of life.