Once dad or mom has reaches a certain age, it’s easy to get swept away by worries about memory loss. Every time she wonders where she put her keys or he forgets his glasses are right there on his head, you probably think, “This is it, the beginning of the beginning stages.
That apathy may extend to some of mom or dad’s typical daily habits, too. Some people with Alzheimer’s might wear the same clothes for several days in a row or suddenly stop having their hair done every week. But just because mom hasn’t showered in three days doesn’t mean she forgot to, Rentz says. “In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, when apathy begins to increase, the individual may become less concerned about how they look or wearing the same clothes or whether they showered.” Families play a crucial role in noticing these types of breaks in the routine. “Tests in a clinic don’t pick up on those behavioral changes,” Hartley says, “but a family does.” (This is what it’s like to care for a parent with Alzheimer’s.)
If dad has started to notice a bit of his own forgetfulness, it might be making him anxious. Alzheimer’s-related anxiety often takes the form of constant question-asking, Rentz says. “New environments may elevate the anxiety, so they’ll ask, ‘Where are we going? What are we doing? When are we leaving?'” What seems like hyper-attention to vacation details may actually be a forgetfulness cover-up: He simply doesn’t remember discussing the itinerary at breakfast.
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