What Are the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s and What to Do?
Alzheimer’s disease has a way of making itself known in very subtle ways. Family members are often the first to notice when something seems off. Whether it’s the person’s short-term memory loss or mood changes, there are many ways that the signs of Alzheimer’s disease can start to surface. One of the theories about Alzheimer’s disease is that it starts many years before diagnosis but cannot be detected until losses in functioning start to happen.
- Abnormal memory loss – for example, forgetting an event and not being able to recall it at all
- Difficulty planning and solving problems – for example, planning a trip to the grocery store with a groceries list and forgetting to pick up several items on the list
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks – for example, forgetting how to start the car or getting lost on the drive to a familiar place
- Losing track of time and place – for example, forgetting what year it is or confusion about how much time has passed
- Problems with vision – for example, tripping over objects that are in plain sight or difficulty judging distance
- Difficulty with finding the right words
- Misplacing items often and placing items in odd spots – for example, putting the car keys in the freezer
- Difficulty making decisions
- Withdrawn during social events – not participating in the conversation or uncomfortable socializing with people
- Mood changes – the person may go from content to irritable without too much of a trigger or blame others for their own mishaps
What to Do Next?
If you are noticing the above concerns, the next step is to schedule an appointment with a neurologist. The neurologist will order tests to be done which may include blood work and lab work, a mental status test (a series of verbal questions to test memory and thinking skills), and brain imaging scans.
Some local neurologists and neuropsychiatrists that can diagnose Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia are listed below.
East End Neuropsychiatric Associates
2539 Middle Country Road
Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease
Putnam Hall South Campus
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY
Dr. Poonam Dulai
200 N. Village Ave
Rockville Centre, NY
Northern Neurology Specialties
575 Underhill Blvd
Jennifer has specialized training in Alzheimer’s disease through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association and the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.She also volunteered her time with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island for 3 years by providing cognitive stimulation to an Alzheimer’s patient group.
Jennifer educates the community about elder care and speaks to caregiver support groups, senior centers, and at professional organizations.Topics include home safety, effective strategies for family caregiving, elder care planning, and awareness about elder abuse.
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