If your Dad wear pajamas to church instead of his Sunday best…something is wrong. Sometimes it can be difficult to know when a loved one is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Here are the seven physical signs of Alzheimer’s disease that you should know about:

  1. Difficulty with Familiar Tasks: People with Alzheimer’s disease have trouble completing tasks that they could do without conscious effort before the onset of their illness. You may want to consider arranging a memory test.
  1. Repetitive Behaviors: People with Alzheimer’s disease may forget that they’ve just done something, so they do it again…and again…and again. Other causes besides mere forgetfulness can make people with Alzheimer’s exhibit repetitive activities and movements such as pacing, or opening and closing drawers. The repetition may be because the person is suffering from boredom.
  1. Taking Shorter Steps & Decreased Fine Motor Skills: While loss of fine motor skills can be a symptom of a number of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, it is also an Alzheimer’s symptom. Someone who is developing Alzheimer’s may find it difficult to accomplish those tricky little things we do with our hands that most of us take for granted.
  1. Getting Lost & Wandering: According to the Alzheimer’s Association—6 of 10 Alzheimer’s patients wanders. This can mean getting lost in familiar places, or an insatiable desire to walk away to somewhere else.
  1. Increase in Daytime Napping: The damage to the brain that takes one’s memory can also take away motivation and drive.  A clear sign of the lethargy brought on by Alzheimer’s is the increase in daytime napping, which brings us to our next physical sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
  1. Insomnia: Alzheimer’s disease often causes sleep changes and sleeping problems. Alzheimer’s sufferers may have trouble sleeping at night. Conversely, they may sleep much more than they used to. Their day/night cycle may also get out of whack, causing what’s known as Sundowners Syndrome.
  1. Poor Grooming, Hygiene, & Dressing Habits: People with Alzheimer’s disease, whether by forgetfulness, or due to the apathy we discussed above, will often neglect to take care of their hygiene and appearance. If you recognize that a formerly tidy or smartly dressed senior is now disheveled this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Concerning Changes? Don’t Panic. Do See Doctor.
Each of the physical signs we mentioned above can be associated with age related issues besides Alzheimer’s disease. None of these symptoms alone are strong evidence of Alzheimer’s disease, but any one of them are a reason for the senior to visit a physician and get checked out. Whatever is causing a concerning change, it’s best that it’s detected early.

Photo by David Sinclair on Unsplash

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