10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s


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10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another dementia.  Signs of memory loss can be subtle, and as a result get overlooked or generalized as being a just a normal part of the aging process.  People may also try to hide their memory loss due to the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia to avoid being seen as less capable. Sadly, this can prevent the early diagnosis that is important in developing the necessary legal, financial and care plans while the individual is still capable of doing so.  

Thankfully, the Alzheimer’s Association has detailed the 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s to help differentiate between what is a typical age-related change and what may be a sign of Alzheimer’s or another dementia

1.     Memory loss that disrupts daily life

  • Forgetting important dates and events
  • Asking the same information repeatedly
  • Increasing reliance on notes or family members for reminders

Normal age-related memory loss is sometimes forgetting names and appointments, but remembering them later.

2.     Challenges in planning or solving problems

  • Changes in ability to follow recipes
  • Changes in ability to play card or number games
  • Difficulty keeping track of monthly bills
  • Difficulty concentrating or taking much longer to complete tasks

Normal age related changes are occasional errors when balancing the checkbook.

3.     Difficulty completing familiar tasks

  • Trouble driving to familiar locations
  • Managing a budget at home or work
  • Remembering the rules of a favorite game

Normal age related changes are occasionally needing help resetting the clock on the microwave or recording a television show.

4.    Confusion with time or place

  • Losing track of dates, seasons, or passage of time
  • Trouble understanding something that’s not happening immediately
  • Forgetting where they are or how they got there

Normal age related changes are mild confusion about the day of the week, but figuring it out later.

5.     Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

  • Difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast
  • Decline in driving abilities

Normal age related changes are vision changes due to cataracts.

6.     New problems with words either verbally or in writing

  • Trouble following or joining a conversation
  • Stopping mid-conversation and being unable to continue or repeating themselves
  • Struggling with vocabulary, finding the right word or calling things by the wrong name

Normal age related changes are sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

7.     Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

  • Putting things in unusual places
  • Losing things and being unable to go back over their steps to find them
  • Accusing others of stealing

Normal age related changes are misplacing things, but being able to retrace steps to find them.

8.     Decreased or poor judgment

  • Making bad decisions with money
  • Paying less attention to grooming or housekeeping

Normal age related changes are making bad decisions once in a while that have little impact.

9.     Withdrawal from work or social activities

  • Removing themselves from hobbies, social activities, and projects
  • Trouble following favorite sports teams or completing favorite hobbies
  • Social avoidance

Normal age related changes are sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

10.     Changes in mood and personality

  • Becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious
  • Getting easily upset at home, work or with friends
  • Increased mood and personality changes at places outside their comfort zone

Normal age related changes are developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming upset when this routine they’ve developed is disrupted.

If your aging loved one is persistently showing these signs that affect their daily life, it is a warning sign you should not ignore.  It’s more than a “senior moment,” and you owe it to your loved one and yourself to seek medical advice.  This checklist from the Alzheimer’s Association will help prepare your loved one for a doctor’s visit to determine if his or her signs are just part of the normal aging process or a symptom of Alzheimer’s or dementia.  We are also available if you do notice these early warning signs, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 920-779-1216.


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