Changes Commonly Experienced in Stage 1
In the early stages of AD, you can expect your parent to show consistent, increasing memory loss, especially about recent events. You’ll notice minor difficulties in handling everyday matters, less interest in hobbies, some disorientation to time and place, and perhaps a need for prompting to keep appointments or continue an established personal care or household routine. If your parent plays card games needing strong memory skills for counting cards and suits, that may become progressively more difficult. Because safe driving entails remembering how to start, brake, steer, reverse, park, read road signs, obey speed limits, and use landmarks and clues to get from one point to another, driving for a parent with AD is always considered extremely dangerous for him and for all others on the roads and streets.
Although Stage 1 is called the ‘mild” stage, it is actually one of the most difficult periods of the disease process for you and your parent. Most people in Stage I AD realize that they are losing control and fight back by denying the existence of the problem. Their children also find it easier to deny the disease and attribute problems to “getting older.” These combined denials mean delayed diagnosis and treatment, often putting the person with AD at more risk. An early diagnosis by a board certified neurologist specializing in AD can result in Mom’s receiving medications that may help slow the progression of the disease. Treatment at an early stage gives Mom the potential to retain a higher functioning level for a longer period of time.
Short Term Memory Loss, Confusion, Focus
/_/ My parent is beginning to forget recent experiences such as appointments made yesterday or last week.
/_/ She has trouble with new experiences such as a new telephone number or area code, or meeting someone new.
/_/ My parent sometimes has trouble finding familiar places like her home or mine, the grocery store, and the doctor’s office.
/_/ My parent has had word finding problems and has filled in the sentence with a non-related word or made-up words that sound like gibberish to cover the difficulty.
/_/ My parent seems to be talking less. (This may help avoid having to find words or making another embarrassing mistake.)
another embarrassing mistake.)
/_/ My parent has difficulties with decisions on menus or selecting clothing to wear.
/_/ My parent has begun to make inappropriate driving decisions.
/_/ My parent has begun to make inappropriate financial decisions.
/_/ My parent has lost interest in hobbies, friends, and other activities.
/_/ My parent is not as well groomed as she used to be.
/_/ My parent doesn’t appear to bathe as often as she used to.
/_/ My parent has mood swings that he didn’t have before AD.
/_/ My parent makes excuses to avoid friends and family.
/_/ My parent has become depressed.
/_/ My parent has experienced a reversal in personalities from kind to nasty, outgoing to reclusive, gentle to sharp tongued, or other obvious and significant changes.
In the moderate stages of AD, you’ll notice significant memory loss. The AD patient will have retained fewer and fewer memories, will be more severely disorientated about time and place, will have great difficulty in problem solving, and will be unable to handle social relationships or function independently except for simple tasks. Your parent will need an in¬creas-ing level of assistance with dressing, grooming, preparing meals, taking medications, handling most household activities, driving, or making sound decisions regarding personal safety and finance.