Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease to be on the lookout for in your elderly parent.


As we age, we all start getting a bit forgetful, it’s just one of those things.  You might forget the date for a while but then remember later, or sometimes get a bit lost for words that are familiar, only to recapture them later in a conversation.

These things are very different for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease though.

Keeping track of days, months and seasons becomes very difficult, as do making decisions based on sound judgement.  You may miss a monthly payment once in a while, but someone with Alzheimer’s will become incapable of handling a budget at all.

Confusion is a large part of the disease, which often leads the sufferer to become irritable and frustrated, which is also one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease to look out for:

Memory loss:

We’re not talking about the type of memory loss most of us experience at one time or the other in our daily lives.  This is about forgetting any information that’s recent, or asking about the same information repetitively.

Memory loss becomes dangerous when someone with Alzheimer’s forgets to turn the stove off or lock the front door.

This is the type of memory loss that has a major impact on daily living.

Problem solving and planning:

Solving problems as simple as trying to follow a favourite recipe or planning anything and then following through on the plan becomes very difficult. Familiar routine tasks will start taking a lot longer than before, due to an inability to concentrate.

Struggling with familiar tasks:

Daily tasks become really challenging for people with Alzheimer’s, no matter how familiar the tasks may be.  Even finding the way to the familiar local grocery store can become a challenge for someone with Alzheimer’s, and if this is the case, it’s time to gently take control of the car keys.


Keeping someone with Alzheimer’s focussed on something that’s planned for later will be virtually impossible, especially as the disease progresses. They will live in the here and now, and at times even forget where they are or how they got there if they’re not in familiar surroundings.

Problems holding a conversation:

We all lose our thread in a conversation every now and then, but for a person with Alzheimer’s, conversations become really difficult.  Forgetting what they’re saying mid-sentence and not knowing how to get back to the original thought, repeating themselves or calling familiar things by the wrong names, make conversations disjointed and confusing for everyone.

Losing things:

Often when we lose something like our keys, for instance, it may take time to find them but eventually, through retracing our steps, they’ll come to light.

This ability is lost for people with Alzheimer’s.  They aren’t able to retrace their steps at all, and in this inability to do so, may often accuse others of stealing whatever it is they’re looking for. 

Poor judgement:

A person with Alzheimer’s will have a hard time dealing with their money and could become easy prey to anyone soliciting money, whether for donations or for services and products that don’t make any sense or aren’t needed.

Lack of grooming:

People with Alzheimer’s will often begin to pay less and less attention to physical hygiene or to their grooming. Someone who may have taken a lot of care with their grooming before the onset of Alzheimer’s could easily start losing interest in their appearance.

Changes in personality:

Confusion, anxiety, depression, suspicion and fearfulness, all part of the symptoms exhibited by someone with Alzheimer’s, often lead to drastic mood swings and changes in personality.  These are all made worse by any move to take the person out of familiar surroundings and a comfortable routine.

It takes love and patience:

Caring for an aging parent with Alzheimer’s is going to take a major amount of love and patience, patience that will be tested to the very limits of endurance, and it’s for this reason that you’re going to need respite every now and then.

When you need a break, CareChamp offers Alzheimer’s care of the highest standard in South Africa, roping in the best of their caregivers to support you and your parent through this disease.

Let the management team at CareChamp lend a helping hand when you need to take a break, so that you can come back from a day or a week away, refreshed and ready to handle the next leg of the week or month.

CareChamp offers affordable rates for part-time or full-time Alzheimer’s and Elderly frail care at home, making it easy on families taking on this daunting responsibility.

Please contact CareChamp today to find out more about how they can help to make things easier for you and your parent.