“Something is Wrong with my Momma”
Recognizing Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
I’m J Smiles, comedian, Alzheimer’s and Dementia activist, and family caregiver. You may know me from Parenting Up!™ - where we’re a family of caregivers taking care of our family members together. Welcome to Snuggle Up™ Saturday.
When my mother began showing signs that something was awry, I had zero clue what was really happening. The first big, UH-OH, sign that could not be ignored was my mom making a sandwich in the kitchen, and she didn’t realize she was urinating on herself. This only happened one time, but it started me on my path to Parenting Up!™ and becoming my mother’s caregiver and advocate.
Now, my mother had another form of dementia plus Alzheimer’s, which we eventually found out later but didn’t know at the time. My momma, Zetty, I call her Zetty, had just lost her husband, my father, only several weeks prior. We don’t know if profound grief triggered the issues, but up until the aftermath of my dad’s death, my mother was still working, doing everything business as usual. True, she wasn’t quite the same from the moment my father passed on, but who knew we’d end up where we did a couple of months later with possible diagnoses, and brain surgery on the table weeks after that.
I didn’t see Alzheimer’s or dementia coming at us, so let’s talk about early signs and symptoms. The Alzheimer’s Association lists 10 early symptoms. Yawl, remember, I am a family caregiver and an Alzheimer’s advocate, not a doctor. Always consult a doctor if you believe something is going on with your LO.
10 Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
- Memory loss that causes issues in daily life
- Problem-solving challenges or issues with planning
- Familiar tasks become difficult
- Trouble with visual or spatial awareness
- Confusion about time or place
- A change in issues with words, speaking, or writing
- Misplacing items more frequently
- Withdrawal from the typical schedule of work, friends, etc.
- Different judgment (poorer) than usual
- Changes in mood and personality
Recall, Zetty had just lost her husband, my father, prior to the first incident that started us on our journey. Looking back, there may have been some early warning signs that we missed, because Zetty managed all of her affairs, maintained her office and my father worked.
It’s possible to miss the signs until something bigger happens. Who among us wants to acknowledge a LO having mental decline? If that’s how your journey starts,
don’t beat yourself up about it. Just embrace wherever you are in the journey to caregiving.
We all start somewhere! Some of us with a bang, and some of us with a
slow wade into the unknown waters. In time you’ll get more comfortable, trust your intuition
when it comes to your LO and you’ll do just fine.
If you feel like you don’t have anyone to lean on, remember you have everyone in the