Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to memory loss or cognitive dysfunction due to loss of brain cells. Alzheimer’s is most common in people over the age of 65 and is known for causing a variety of symptoms including anxiety, agitation, dementia, and sleep disorders. Such symptoms can result in hard-to-manage patients, creating added stress for caregivers. Alzheimer’s often has a significant effect not only on the patients themselves, but many others in their life as well.
The most common symptom for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. Individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may forget dates, events, and sometimes even close friends or family members. Though arguably one of the most challenging aspects of memory loss is convincing those who suffer from it that it may be an issue or that they may need to seek medical care.
Those suffering from Alzheimer’s often face difficulty with completing routine tasks. They may struggle with simple chores such as driving, remembering how to get back home, managing budgets, even locating their usual grocery store.
Alzheimer’s patients will often lose track of time, not knowing what day, or even year it is. It can also manifest in short term memory loss such as forgetting or not recognizing someone they just met a moment before.
It has been observed that patients with Alzheimer's may be unable to read properly, judge distance, or determine color contrast.
Seemingly basic conversations may become a task for people with Alzheimer’s disease. They can often be unable to recall the right word from their vocabulary, abruptly stop speaking mid-conversation, or repeat the same sentence several times.
People with Alzheimer’s often experience difficulty in planning, dealing with numbers, or paying bills. They may find it hard to concentrate for an extended period of time, often leading to an inability to finish tasks, or often taking significantly longer to complete certain projects that were at one point routine for them.
Alzheimer’s patients may often misplace their things, and potentially blame others for stealing their misplaced belongings, as they can often become agitated when they can’t find what they are looking for. They may even intentionally keep their belongings in one place and still search for them somewhere else.
Confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and agitation frequently manifest in patients with Alzheimer’s even if they previously did not use to display those personality traits. They tend to feel uncomfortable even while in their own home, workplace, or other familiar places.
Alzheimer’s patients often struggle with decision-making, analyzing situations, or have a difficult time making choices. They may pay less attention to personal cleanliness and grooming, forgetting to take showers, brush their teeth, etc.
Detachment from hobbies, social gatherings, and physical activities are typical of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Patients may struggle with playing their favorite games, sports, or engaging in other social activities, which could result in disconnecting them from their friend circles.
Alzheimer’s has no cure to date, but an early diagnosis can help to lower the progression of the disease through proper medical care. Medications play an essential part in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by providing relief against some symptoms and helping them maintain their independence.