An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is devastating for the individual and their entire family. At the end of life we all hope to be able to hold our memories dear and communicate important messages to our loved ones. Alzheimer’s steals that potential, taking away first the recognition of all that we hold dear and eventually our very lives.
Sadly, there is no way to stop the progression or Alzheimer’s, or even to slow it very much. But early intervention can manage symptoms and improve quality of life in the short term. Many patients appreciate that opportunity, so it’s critical to be aware of the signs of Alzheimer’s and how they differ from normal aging-related cognitive decline.
To help you tell the difference, we have collected a list of symptoms that are normal compared to those that should not be ignored.
1. Relationship to time and place
What’s normal: As we age, it’s not unusual to get confused about the day of the week or to accidentally recite an old address. With normal age-related cognitive decline, the individual can usually access the correct information at a later point.
The warning sign: People with Alzheimer’s routinely lose track of time, including the passage of seasons. They struggle to understand past or future events, so may not remember the conversation you had yesterday about a doctor’s appointment today. It is not unusual for Alzheimer’s patients to forget where they are and even how they got there.