But if forgetfulness or confusion starts to seriously interfere with daily life, it’s time seek medical help. The symptoms could point to Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
What are the warning signs?
How can you tell if someone in your life is more than just a little forgetful and needs a medical evaluation? The Alzheimer’s Association lists these 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure.
- Confusion with time or place.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- New problems with words, in speaking or writing.
- Misplacing things or losing the ability to re-trace steps.
- Decreased or poor judgment.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood and personality.
Possibly the biggest obstacle to early diagnosis is denial on the part of the individual or those in his or her life. In a Huffington Post article, Marie Marley, author of Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy, says, “It’s easy to ignore these signs or fail to connect the dots, but when a loved one is showing them it’s essential to dig down deep into your soul and find the emotional strength to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible.”
The best reason to face the facts is that it gives everyone involved more options, says Marley. “Early detection gives you and the patient time to prepare for the future and allows for appropriate medication to be prescribed, which usually works better if started early on. In addition, it allows the patient to participate in long-range planning.”
Legal planning for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is critical. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that individuals take these actions:
- Take inventory of existing estate planning documents, review and make necessary updates.
- Make legal plans for finances and property.
- Put plans in place for enacting future health care and long-term care preferences.
- Name another person to make decisions on your behalf when you no longer can.
We’ve taken this journey with many of our clients and helped them successfully navigate the turbulent waters of Alzheimer’s. Families are frequently in denial far too long, to the detriment of the person affected by Alzheimer’s as well as family caregivers trying to cope.
If you are seeing any of the 10 signs listed above, we strongly recommend you reach out for professional help. The time to act is now.