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10 Alzheimer’s Behaviors: Symptoms & Guidelines

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Did you know that nearly 40% of seniors aged 65 and over suffer from memory loss at some point in their lives ? Although the proportion of the elderly actually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is fortunately lower, at just under 10% of this population, it still represents a concerning condition. For people affected, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can, in fact, rapidly affect their day-to-day lives. Here are 10 Alzheimer’s behaviors to look for, as well as a few guidelines on how to react when someone you care about suffers from such a degenerative disease.

Symptoms & Alzheimer : 10 Behaviors to Look for

Defined as a chronic deterioration of particular brain cells, leading to the onset of a range of cognitive symptoms, Alzheimer’s disease represents a progressive dementia that can be subdivided into different stages. From early Alzheimer’s to the more advanced stages of the disease, many behaviors which are characteristic of this type of dementia can be identified. To guide you, here are the main top 10 symptoms to be aware of.

1. Memory Loss

Frequent forgetfulness and memory problems are undoubtedly among the earliest and most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. However, as mentioned earlier, memory loss can exist without being caused by any form of neurodegenerative disease. In fact, the simple process of normal aging can, in some cases, be the primary cause of some memory lapses.With Alzheimer’s disease, the frequency of these memory problems will usually be higher, and progress over time. It is therefore important to remain vigilant about the evolution of symptoms, in order to be able to discern the differences between Alzheimer’s disease and normal aging.

2. Impaired Reasoning

Another sign to watch out for is the emergence of impaired ability to reason. Depending on the stage of the disease, the manifestation may appear different :

  • Impaired thinking ;
  • Difficulty interpreting numbers and calculations ;
  • Incapability to organize finances (although the person used to be able to do so) ;
  • Decision-making becomes more difficult ;
  • etc.

It should be noted that the intensity of reasoning disorders in Alzheimer’s patients will vary greatly depending on the stage and progression of the condition. These symptoms can also vary according to time, with both more challenging episodes and some calm periods.

3. Language Disorders / Communication Difficulties

Whether spoken or written, language disorders associated with Alzheimer ‘s disease appear among the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s to watch out for. Simple words and everyday expressions are often replaced by paraphrases, similar terms or even invented words.Since reading and writing are also affected, we encourage you to discuss any sudden changes with your elderly relative’s doctor or health care professional.

4. Alzheimer’s Related Mood Changes and Personality Disorders

Depending on the progression of the disease, mood changes and personality disorders may also develop. These Alzheimer’s related symptoms, often at a more advanced stage, tend to occur rather drastically, sometimes without any apparent reason. The appearance of unusual behaviors, foreign to the person you know so well, or even signs of depression, are frequently observed in seniors affected by Alzheimer’s disease.Do you feel you no longer recognize your close relative ? Feeling helpless facing such a situation ? Do not hesitate to ask for assistance by taking advantage of the confidential and free support services available especially for family caregivers experiencing such situations. Alzheimer Society of Canada, for example, may help you to find some helpful support.

5. Loss of Interest in Social Activities / Isolation of Seniors

In addition to alterations in mood and personality, seniors living with Alzheimer’s often demonstrate a loss of interest toward social activities. Notice that an elderly relative you care about is less interested in a hobby or pastime that used to brighten his or her day ? Be aware that such changes in behavior may, in some cases, be associated with the consequences of Alzheimer‘s disease.When faced with this kind of situation, special attention should be paid to prevent problems related to social isolation among seniors.

6. Difficulty Performing Daily Tasks

As Alzheimer’s dementia progresses, everyday tasks may become more difficult to perform. Planning the day, paying the bills, shopping or even preparing a meal may turn into a real challenge.

Thankfully, solutions do exist to support seniors with Alzheimer’s symptoms in carrying out day-to-day activities. 

7. Confusion and Orientation Disorders

When Alzheimer’s symptoms begin to manifest, early signs of space-time confusion can be particularly destabilizing, both for the seniors and their families.

Impaired sense of time, difficulties remembering the present day or month, inability to orient in space, these are only some examples of symptoms and problematic behaviors that can be associated with progressive Alzheimer’s disease.

8. Agnosia : Loss of Ability to Recognize

Ever heard of agnosia before ? Defined as a loss of the ability to recognize objects, as well as common places, this behavioral disorder observed in seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s may also be associated with difficulty in recognizing even familiar faces.Caused by damage to sensory areas of the brain, these symptoms are amongst the most difficult to accept for people close to the patient. However, to the best of your ability, it is strongly recommended that you continue to be reassuring towards your elderly loved one, and opt for a calm approach. In fact, your patience and creativity in finding simple ways to communicate can make a world of difference for the person you care about.

9. Impaired Vision

While not affecting all people diagnosed with the disease, vision problems do appear among the changes that can be observed in association with Alzheimer’s. These physical symptoms can sometimes combine with and amplify other behavioral symptoms, such as spatial confusion and difficulty recognizing one’s immediate environment.

10. Behavioral Triggers and Aggressive Symptoms, mostly in late stages of Alzheimer’s disease

Of all the many Alzheimer’s symptoms, behavioral disorders and aggressive reactions are certainly among the most feared by family and relatives. Agitation, hallucinations and delusions are common examples of Alzheimer’s behavioral disorders, also referred to as the 3 types behavioral triggers

While this may sound easier said than done, it is crucial to stay calm when confronted with these situations. Whenever possible, finding the cause of the behavior can certainly help to prevent a recurrence. And, of course, if you feel that your safety is at risk, no matter how, please leave and call for help.

Alzheimer’s Disease in the Elderly : Supporting Resources

Despite these difficulties, valuable resources are available to help both people suffering from Alzheimer’s, as well as their families and caregivers. Looking for sound advice ? Whatever the reason, whatever the time, it is essential to know how to surround yourself with the right people, and never hesitate to call on any help available to you. Feeling that the responsibility of being a caregiver is becoming overwhelming ? Remember that you do not have to be alone !

When to ask for help ?

The needs associated with Alzheimer’s generally become more important with the evolution of the condition. But they also vary greatly from person to person, and sometimes even from day to day. Regardless of the stage of Alzheimer’s disease your elderly relative is diagnosed with, we recommend that you start getting appropriate assistance in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. So, when the need occurs, you will already have the right support at hand.

Home Care and Specialized Alzheimer’s Retirement Homes

Did you know that staying in a familiar environment presents many benefits for seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease? For this reason, home care services tailored to the specific needs of seniors living with some form of dementia definitely represent a good solution to consider. Dedicated to helping the elderly through their daily lives, Specialized Home Help Services for Seniors with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other neurocognitive disorders are in place to respond to their specific challenges, while making sure seniors may remain safe and secure in the comfort of home.

Are you concerned about the growing needs of a senior relative ? Uncertain about his or her safety, health and well-being? Accompanying your elderly loved one to a specially adapted retirement home for seniors suffering from degenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s) may be the best solution. Visavie offers you a professional and rapid service for a compassionate and caring support service, focused on the person’s real needs. With no cost and no obligation, our Senior Living Advisors accompany seniors and their families in their search for the ideal Retirement Home. A senior close to you suffers from major cognitive impairment ? Are you noticing one or more of the 10 Alzheimer’s behaviors and symptoms developing ?

We can guide and support you in finding the best possible solution for your elderly relative. In Ontario and Quebec, Visavie brings its experience to your service.

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