Alzheimer's Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. With statistics like this, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms so that you can get the proper help and treatment for a loved one that is suffering. Because of the unfortunate commonness of the disease, most people recognize the usual cognitive symptoms - memory loss, inability to remember names or places, difficulty speaking, and mood swings - however, the physical signs are not as well known, but recognizing them is equally, if not more important to catching Alzheimer's in its early stages.
The physical signs of Alzheimer's Disease are important to recognize because often the cognitive symptoms are much more discreet and hard to determine, especially if your loved one is naturally forgetful, or if you aren't able to spend time with them regularly. By becoming familiar with the physical signs, it is easier to recognize Alzheimer's, even in its early stages, allowing you to get your loved one the help they need as soon as possible.
1. Repeating Actions
Keep an eye out to see if your loved one is repeating unusual actions. You might be able to carry on a coherent conversation with them, but repeating actions such as opening and closing the refrigerator repeatedly, aimlessly walking back and forth between rooms, or continually looking for an item that they have already found might alert you that they are suffering from Alzheimer's.
2. Wearing The Same Outfit
If you notice that your loved one has been wearing the same outfit the past several times that you have seen them, this could be symptomatic of Alzheimer's. Another sign associated with the disease is lack of personal hygiene - including doing laundry - either from forgetfulness or apathy. So if you notice that they haven't changed their clothes or dressed for the occasion, especially when that is uncharacteristic, this is an alerting factor.
3. Unexplained Bruising
This is an especially important physical sign to be aware of, especially if you aren't with your loved one every day. If when you see them and they have fresh bruises and cuts, and can't remember where or how they got them, this could be symptomatic of Alzheimer's. Common cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's are sundowning and wandering, both of which are very dangerous. These habits could be where the bruises and cuts are coming from, and it is important to get under control so that your loved one doesn't get hurt or taken advantage of.
4. Loss Of Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are what is required to hold on to small objects and make precise movements, and are affected by adverse brain activity, such as a stroke. This is particularly noticeable at dinnertime when your loved one is trying to grip the utensils. If they are having a very difficult time grasping or holding on to these, that could be a sign that something isn't right.
5. Stressed or Pained Physical or Facial Expressions
Take a moment to notice your loved one's expressions when you are with them. Facial expressions such as frowning, looking frightened, grimacing, keepeing eyes tightly closed, or rapidly blinking could all be signs of Alzheimer's and physical and emotional pain that are associated with it. Physical expressions such as rigid body posture, fidegting, rocking, or changes in walking patterns are also signs of this.
Because Alzheimer's disease is easiest to manage when it is detected early, it is important to recognize these symptoms and to be able to get your loved one help as soon as you might expect something isn't right. Do not hesitate to call your doctor, as they will be able to help you get all the resources that you need.
If your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia, hiring a respite, hourly, or live-in care provider to help your loved one be comfortable and safe in their home is a great idea, as taking on sole caregiving duties can be taxing on personal lives and relationships. American In-Home Care refers qualified nurses, Home Health Aides, Certified Nursing Assistants, and companions that can help you and your loved one by specializing in Alzheimer's care and other services. Contact us today at 1-844-505-0004 for a no-obligation consultation to determine what care options are best for your family.