According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 10 early warning signs that indicate a person may have the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Each of these signs could indicate other medical or psychological issues, so it is important to see a neurologist if you suspect you or a family member may be at risk.
People with Alzheimer’s disease may experience:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
Forgetting recent events, repeatedly asking for the same information, or increasingly relying on memory aids can be a sign of memory loss. On the other hand, temporarily forgetting names or appointments is often normal.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
Being unable to perform mental arithmetic, follow a recipe or pay bills are a few examples of the frustrating challenges.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
Difficulties include being unable to do normal work tasks, forgetting the rules to a game played many times, or not recalling the route to a destination they’ve driven routinely.
- Confusion with time or place
Losing track of the day, month or season, or suddenly not knowing where they are or how they got there may be signs of Alzheimer’s.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
While vision changes affect many of us as we age, people with Alzheimer’s disease may have difficulty understanding what they are seeing, judging distance, and determining color and contrast.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
Symptoms may include suddenly stopping at mid-sentence when speaking, being unable to continue, repeating oneself or using the wrong words for common items. It may become increasingly difficult for the individual to participate in conversations.
- Misplacing items and losing the ability to retrace steps
Signs may include frequently misplacing items or putting them in odd places or not being able to retrace steps to find an item.
- Decreased or poor judgment
Judgement issues could include having trouble managing money or spending it on odd items or things they don’t need, or neglecting personal hygiene.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
People with Alzheimer’s disease may stop participating in leisure activities or work projects that require them to remember certain facts or rules.
- Changes in mood or personality
Personality changes may include becoming especially moody or withdrawn, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious.
Adapted from: www.alz.org