World Alzheimer’s Day – how can you spot the early signs in a loved one?

Alzheimer’s Disease is, unfortunately, something that affects many people as they get older. World Alzheimer’s Day is this month on September 21st, so Luca Rado, co-founder of the Live In Care Company has provided his expert tips on spotting the early signs of Alzheimer’s in a loved one to raise more awareness about the disease. 

Here are 3 things to look out for in an elderly family member or friend: 

  1. Memory loss

Memory loss is probably the most well-known symptom of Alzheimer’s. Often in Alzheimer’s Disease, the individual may struggle with short-term memory. For instance, they may forget to lock the front door or turn off the oven. They may lose things more frequently and forget someone’s name. The worsening of an individual’s memory can also come with old age, so it’s important to look out for other symptoms before jumping to conclusions. 

  1. Disorientation

Getting lost when outside the home in a familiar place can be a warning sign for Alzheimer’s Disease. As can being disorientated to the time, day and date. If someone misses appointments and social events this can be a sign that they are not orientated to the correct date. If dementia is more severe, then the person may find themselves being disorientated within their own home or being unsure of whether it is night or day.

  1. Change in social skills

Alzheimer’s Disease can affect the brain in such a way that social skills change. Someone may show a lack of interest in socializing, they may have a decreased ability to speak to others, or they may show increased socially inappropriate behaviour. This usually does not occur with natural ageing, however, social skills can change if someone has a mood disorder, such as depression.

How to best care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s?

If a friend or family member has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you are their primary carer, it’s important to have a good understanding of your responsibilities and how you can offer the best quality of care to ensure you and the person you care for are happy and comfortable with this new change. Luca explains: “It can be difficult for family and loved ones to care for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease because it may be a long, stressful and emotional journey. Since there is no cure and the disease progressively worsens, caring duties will become more labour-intensive with time. It can also be incredibly difficult to watch a loved one’s memories and skills disappear. As the disease worsens, your loved one may lose awareness and recognition of who you are and appreciation will diminish. However, there are also benefits to caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and you may find your bond with the patient deepens through care and companionship, which can be rewarding.

If you’re struggling to adjust to caring for a person with Alzheimer’s there are many useful resources and support online that will help you to explore your options. You can find further information on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia here – https://www.theliveincarecompany.co.uk/care-guides/alzheimers-care-guide/