Most people know that confusion and forgetfulness are two classic signs of Alzheimer’s disease. While they are common symptoms, there are a variety of others that you may not be as familiar with. A change in personality is one.

If you are concerned about the differences you are witnessing in a senior loved one, this information will help you learn more about the early signs of Alzheimer’s.

Personality Changes and Alzheimer’s Disease

When an older adult begins to act out of character or starts becoming irritable or aggressive, it may be an indication of trouble. Other changes in personality that might be early signs of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Confusion that leads to isolation:

    During the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may be confused and have difficulty finding their words. They know something is wrong but aren’t sure what. Because they may be embarrassed at not being able to hold up their end of a conversation, the senior might begin to avoid family gatherings and social occasions. It can cause them to become more isolated.
  • Inappropriate behavior:

    A normally reserved senior may suddenly become outgoing and gregarious. They might engage in more social activities than ever. Unfortunately, a senior with early Alzheimer’s can also lose their inhibitions and act in inappropriate ways.
  • Loss of good judgment:

    Another change might be a loss of good judgment. For example, an older adult who has always been thrifty and good at managing their money may suddenly start making expensive and unnecessary purchases. Adults with Alzheimer’s also fall victim to scams in greater numbers than peers without the disease.

Most times, changes in personality aren’t the only signs of the disease. Other symptoms to look for that can indicate Alzheimer’s are:

  • Difficulty following story lines in a television show or movie
  • Forgetting names of familiar people and places
  • Forgetting events or appointments and not remembering them later
  • Asking the same questions repeatedly
  • Habitually misplacing items or placing them in inappropriate locations

Other Conditions That Cause a Change in Personality

Before you panic and leap to the conclusion that your loved one has Alzheimer’s, schedule an appointment with their primary physician. There are other treatable conditions that can mimic the disease, including:

  • A vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • A thyroid disorder or disease
  • A medication side effect or drug interactions
  • An infection in the body, such as a urinary tract infection

Your older family member’s physician will likely conduct a physical exam and blood work to eliminate conditions other than Alzheimer’s.

If the Diagnosis Is Alzheimer’s

An early diagnosis will give your physician the opportunity to work with you or your senior loved one on interventions that may help slow the progression of the disease. While there is currently no cure, researchers say there are steps you can take that may help, such as managing cholesterol, eating a healthy diet, getting a good night’s rest, and exercising.

Environment also plays a role. A thoughtfully designed memory care community can give a senior with Alzheimer’s disease the support they need while also allowing them to feel independent. One of our experienced senior care advisors can help you learn more.

Call 800-304-8061 for free advice from an advisor today!


Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash