10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

  1. Memory Changes that Affect Daily Life

    One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Sometimes forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later.

  2. Challenges in Planning or Solving Problems

    Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

  3. Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks at Home, at Work or at Leisure

    People with Alzheimer’s often struggle to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Occasionally needing help to use the setting on a microwave or to record a television show.

  4. Confusion with Time or Place

    People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

  5. Trouble Understanding Visual Images and Spatial Relationships

    For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Vision changes related to cataracts.

  6. New Problems with Words in Speaking or Writing

    People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand clock”).

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

  7. Missing Things and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps

    A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.

  8. Decreased or Poor Judgment

    People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Making a bad decision once in a while.

  9. Withdrawal from Work or Social Activities

    A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work, projects or sports teams remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

  10. Changes in Mood and Personality

    The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

    What Are Typical Age-related Changes?

    Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

Do you have questions about Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders? Are you caring for a person with dementia?

Call the Alzheimer’s Association 24 hour helpline at 800-272-3900.

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