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King Farm Blog

IKF Blog
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2021

What are the differences between early Alzheimer’s and growing older?

It’s not uncommon to find yourself forgetting a name, address or phone number, even of a close friend or family member. Have you ever lost your thought in mid-stream or wondered where you misplaced your keys or wallet?

All of these can be examples of common lapses that most everyone experiences. It can be unsettling to be sure. If it happens more than a few times, you may even find yourself concerned whether this could be typical age-related memory loss or Alzheimer’s.

If this is happening to you, it might be helpful to review the characteristic differences between older age vs early Alzheimer’s.

10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s

The following are early warning signs that may be indicative of a brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s, which can cause a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. For your comparison, they have also included examples of more typical age-related changes.

If you do believe you have experienced any of the Alzheimer’s symptoms, it is recommended that you call your doctor to discuss.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

A common sign of the early stage of Alzheimer’s is forgetting recently learned information. Noticeable behaviors may include asking the same questions over and over or relying on aids or family members to remember information they no longer can.

Typical age-related change: This may include forgetting a name or appointment but remembering them later.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems

Those with Alzheimer’s may notice a change in their ability to create and follow a plan or work with numbers. This could include struggling to follow a familiar recipe or handle their bills. Concentrating can become more difficult.

Typical age-related change: A person may make an occasional error when handling their finances or paying bills.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks

Those with dementia or another form of Alzheimer’s may find it more difficult to complete daily tasks that they once could accomplish with little trouble, such as struggling to drive to a familiar location, creating and organizing a grocery list or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

Typical age-related change: You may find yourself occasionally needing help to program a television show or to use all of the settings on the microwave.

4. Confusion with time or place

Those living with Alzheimer’s often lose track of the passage of time, including certain dates and seasons. They may struggle with events that aren’t happening immediately. They may also forget where they are or how they got there.

Typical age-related change: It’s not unusual to get confused about which day of the week it might be for a moment but remember it later.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

Having vision problems can sometimes be a sign of Alzheimer’s. This may lead to trouble reading or maintaining your balance. Other challenges can include problems judging distance or determining color and contract.

Typical age-related change: Many people notice vision changes as they grow older, especially related to developing cataracts.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

It’s not uncommon for those living with Alzheimer’s to struggle to follow or join in on a conversation. They may stop while speaking and not be sure how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may also struggle to remember the name of a familiar object.

Typical age-related change: Everyone at some time has trouble finding the right word that they’re looking for but are able to continue the conversation.

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

Those living with Alzheimer’s may often leave things in unusual places. It’s also possible that they may lose an object and be unable to retrace their steps to find it. They may accuse others of stealing it, especially as the disease progresses.

Typical age-related change: It’s not uncommon to misplace something and need to retrace our steps to find it.

8. Decreased or poor judgment

Making decisions becomes more difficult and using poor judgment can often become more common for those with Alzheimer’s. This can especially be seen when it comes to dealing with money or in daily grooming.

Typical age-related change: Everyone makes bad decisions or mistakes every once in a while, and hopefully learns from them.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

Because those living with Alzheimer’s may struggle to hold or follow a conversation, they may begin to avoid social activities or other opportunities to be with others.

Typical age-related change: Everyone experiences a time when they’re less interested in spending time with family or friends.

10. Changes in mood and personality

Those living with Alzheimer’s can express a variety of moods and personality changes. You may find them to be confused, suspicious, fearful or anxious. They may become easily upset and you may not be aware of the reason.

Typical age-related change: We’ve all found ourselves or others in a bad mood or feeling that everything is a source of irritation but we overcome it.

Ingleside at King Farm Memory Support Assisted Living

We understand the difference between age-related experiences and the onset of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Individuals can become fearful that what they’re experiencing may be the onset of a cognitive disease. Hopefully, the above information can paint a clearer picture when it comes to characteristics that are age-related vs Alzheimer’s. But if you are concerned, we advise you to contact your medical team to discuss.

If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and find that you are not able to provide the level needed as the illness progresses, we provide a safe and loving environment for your loved one and your family. Not only do we offer a whole-person approach to our residents, our services and amenities also include: 

  • Intimate and secure residential neighborhoods

  • Spacious apartments with an abundance of sun and natural light

  • Individual therapy and wellness programs

  • Licensed nursing staff 24/7 educated in best practices in dementia care

  • All-day dining with chef inspired meals and stocked kitchens

  • Social integration with others in the greater community

  • Family support and education

Call (240) 414-8557 if you have any questions or schedule a personalized tour today.


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