The indicators are not always obvious, but they could signal mental distress in an aging loved one.
1. Memory: Forgetting things like important dates and “recently learned information” are warning signs of Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
2. Problem-solving: Occasionally making errors when balancing a checkbook are typical in the aging process, but other problem-solving challenges, like the inability to develop and follow a plan, can be warning signs.
3. Confusion: Losing track of time or place, or being confused by the passage of time are signs to watch for. Interfaith’s Pat Bruce says aging adults may throw away mail they don’t understand.
4. Vision: Certain changes in vision can come about normally, but for some, having trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships can be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
5. Conversation: Those with Alzheimer’s may have problems continuing a conversation. They may repeat themselves, or call things by the wrong name.
6. Decision-making: Changes in judgment and decision-making can be cause for concern, like giving large amounts of money to telemarketers or paying less attention to hygiene.
7. Appetite and diet: Changes in eating habits can be a sign of depression. “Some people don’t want to cook a meal because they can’t eat alone anymore,” says Bruce.
8. Smell: Older adults might say they smell things they didn’t before, says Bruce, adding that smells of garbage or urine in the home “can be signs of paranoia because they won’t open windows.”
9. Depression: Depression is a “true medical condition that is treatable” according to the CDC, and older adults are at “an increased risk.” Symptoms of depression can be mistaken for a natural reaction to other illness or life changes.
10. Mood and personality: People with Alzheimer’s can experience changes in mood and personality, becoming confused, suspicious, fearful, anxious or easily upset