One of the scariest things anyone can imagine is losing their independence, and for me it's even scarier to lose my ability to think and reason. Can you imagine not being able to figure out how to dress yourself, or forgetting the names of your loved ones? How about being away from your home and not knowing where you are or how you got there and not even being able to tell any one where you live? There are a number of my family members who have been afflicted with this awful disease. Both of my grandmothers had it, my great grandmother, several great aunts and my aunt all had it. It's horrible to watch someone you knew as a strong vital person retreat into a shell of themselves and eventually retract into the fetal position until they waste away. I don't know if my parents would have developed it because they both died relatively young.
According to alzheimers.net, some of the early warning signs of Alzheimers disease to watch out for are:
- Difficulty remembering things that just happened - Forgetting dates, repeatedly asking for the same information to be repeated over and over and heavily relying on loved ones or reminder notes to remember and perform normal daily tasks
- Inability to plan or solve problems - Having difficulty keeping track of monthly bills or solving simple math problems, or taking longer than previously to perform such tasks
- Losing track of dates, seasons and time - If the event is not happening right now, an Alzheimers patient may become confused and not understand what is going on. Forgetting where they are and how they got there are also common symptoms
- Misplacing things - putting things away in unusual places, having trouble remembering or retracing steps to find something and sometimes accusing others of stealing a missing item
- Mood and personality changes - Alzheimers patients often suffer from anxiety, confusion, depression and suspicion. They are especially vulnerable when they are away from home
- Poor decision making skills - They may spend or give money away frivolously and stop personal grooming and hygiene habits
- Struggling with normal conversation - Not being able to find the right words or calling thing s by the wrong name, not being able to follow a conversation or repeating stories
- Trouble completing familiar tasks - remembering how to drive to a familiar place, or how to cook a simple recipe or remembering the rules to a familiar game
- Vision problems - having difficulty differentiating colors, reading or depth perception may also lead to trouble driving
- Withdrawing from social and work activities - failure to complete work assignments, not engaging socially and giving up favorite hobbies
While there still is no cure for Alzheimers, having a diagnosis before it becomes too far advanced can give you a voice in your future care and treatment may delay full onset longer than no treatment at all.