Alzheimer’s or aging? A question many tend to ask about themselves or their loved ones as they age. Some people confuse simple signs of aging as the beginnings of Alzheimer’s and others disregard signs of Alzheimer’s as a part of normal aging. So how can you decipher between the two?
The most commonly misinterpreted sign is memory loss. With aging comes temporary memory loss, meaning you might forget the name of a person who you recently met, but then remembered later that day. With Alzheimer’s you would not recall meeting the person, let alone their name. Forgetting a name or the date occasionally for a short period of time is normal. Frequently forgetting newly learned information or not remembering the name of a longtime friend can be the early signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Another commonly confused sign is misplaced items. Misplacing an item from time to time is not unusual. In fact everyone loses their car keys at some point in their life, but misplacing items in unusual places, like putting clothes in the oven or putting ice cream in the pantry, can be early signs of Alzheimer’s.
The lost ability to clearly communicate an idea can also be a misunderstood sign of dementia. As someone ages, having trouble finding the right word to use to describe something is common. In fact, this is common for people of all ages, but typically the words you were searching for come to mind after a brief period of time. With Alzheimer’s, individuals tend to forget commonly used words and sometimes make up new words. Those who battle the disease will make up descriptions when they cannot remember the word.
Lastly, a common misunderstood sign of Alzheimer’s and aging is a person having problems with everyday tasks. A person with Alzheimer’s can start having challenges completing tasks they have done for an extended period of time. For instance, completely forgetting a recipe to a dish they have made their whole life or having trouble doing their job of 20 years can indicate the early stages of the disease. On the other hand, forgetting to pay a bill on time every once in a while is a normal sign of aging.
Many people are worried that they or a loved one may have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. These signs are some of the most commonly confused, but it is always good to see your doctor if you believe you have the beginnings of Alzheimer’s.