Some age-related memory loss is normal, like forgetting where you put your keys or getting so caught up in playing with or spending time with your loved ones you forget your coffee someplace. As we age, our minds and bodies will inevitably change as the years go by. But what if you're suddenly forgetting how to get home from being out after a couple of hours, when you've lived there for decades? That's not normal and may warrant further investigation by a doctor or specialist in memory care. 


Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer's or other dementia. Alzheimer's is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. There are many warning signs and symptoms, although some may occur sooner or later than others. If you notice any of them affecting you or your aging loved one, don't ignore them and bring them up to a doctor next time you or your loved one has their check up. 


Mountain Home Care in Asheville can help you figure out where to begin if any of the following symptoms are noticed. Our experiences caregivers know memory care, and with their patience and dedication to our clients, we can help you or your aging loved one with anything from running errands, household chores or meal preparation, as well as companionship and personal care needs. 


1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information.

Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same information over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.


What's a typical age-related change?

Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.


2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.

Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.


What's a typical age-related change?

Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook, or forgetting a monthly bill every once in a while.


3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.

People with Alzheimer's often find it hard to complete daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth, taking medications, showering or bathing, and others. Sometimes, they may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering the rules of a favorite game.


What's a typical age-related change?

Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave, cellphone, computer, or to record a television show.


4. Confusion with time or place.

People with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.


What's a typical age-related change?

Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.


5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.

For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.


What's a typical age-related change?

Vision changes related to cataracts, bifocals, trouble driving at night.


6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.

People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation.

They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a "watch" a "hand-clock").


What's a typical age-related change?

Sometimes having trouble finding the right word, but remembering it later.


7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.

A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.


What's a typical age-related change?

Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.


8. Decreased or poor judgment.

People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers or scammers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean, or have trouble completing activties of daily living such as eating or other personal care needs. 


What's a typical age-related change?

Making a bad decision once in a while, but remaining mentally clear or having something "slip your mind."


9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.

A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They also may avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced and may feel anxious and insecure, or as thiugh they are a burden to others because of their trouble remembering and engaging with others. 


What's a typical age-related change?

Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations, but taking time to recenter yourself and getting back to it.


10. Changes in mood and personality.

The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone or familiar places.


What's a typical age-related change?

Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.


If you or your loved one may be suffering from any of the above signs and symptoms and has you anxious, bring it up to your doctor or your loved one's doctor at their next check up to discuss treatment plans and other preventative care. Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, modern medicine has come a long way in education and treatment management that can make you or your loved one enjoy a quality life.