Dementia symptoms: The way a loved one dresses could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease

Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia

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One of these symptoms includes how the patient dresses.

Research suggests someone who dresses in a scruffy manner could be exhibiting a sign of Alzheimer’s.

What this doesn’t mean is anyone wearing scruffy clothes has Alzheimer’s.

Concerns should be raised if the elderly person previously dressed very smartly and then changed to a scruffier style.

These aren’t the only behaviour signs.

Other unusual behavioural symptoms include:
• Changes in humour
• Bad parking
• Swearing
• Having no filter on what they say.

Research from the University of Southern California (USC) also suggests elderly people with Alzheimer’s were more likely to give out money and was significantly associated with its early stages.

Dr Duke Hann, of the USC said of the research: “Trouble handling money is thought to be one of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and this finding supports that notion.”

As well as developing greater altruistic tendencies, people with Alzheimer’s were more likely to favour slapstick humour over other forms of comedy.

All this data forms part of the galaxy of research into Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

What happens during dementia?

Dementia is caused by the abnormal buildup proteins in the brain, these proteins cause the brain cells to die.

As more cells die, their brain’s ability to function diminishes as it has fewer cells to carry out these functions.

What dementia does is eat away at the brain and the person it controls; it’s like turning out a series of lights in a large hotel one by one.

As these cells die, the brain does what it can to keep everything functioning by making new connections.

However, there is only so much neural rewiring the brain can do before dementia cuts all the wires.

As the disease progresses, the brain gradually loses mass too, about 120 grammes.

To put this in perspective, this is about the same weight as an orange.

Charities around the world are working to ‘shrink the orange’ so the disease is held back for longer and each patient has more time.

The most tragic thing about dementia is the patient suffers two deaths, one of the body, and one of the mind.

It is this latter death many find the hardest as neither side recognises the one they once loved.

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