10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that causes a decline in areas like memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. While how the disease affects a person can vary, we’ve put together a list of early signs and symptoms for you to use if you’re concerned a loved one could be affected by Alzheimer’s. If your loved one exhibits more than one of these symptoms, please consult your doctor.


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1

MEMORY DECLINE THAT AFFECTS DAILY LIFE

The most commonly associated symptom with Alzheimer’s is memory loss. While everyone forgets things from time to time, if it is increasingly affecting daily life it is cause for concern. A person may begin to rely heavily on memory aids such as reminder notes or electronic devices.

Typical age-related change

Forgetting an old friend’s name or phone number but remembering it later.

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2

INABILITY TO PLAN OR SOLVE PROBLEMS

Changes in a person’s ability to stay on track with a task or finish a recipe may indicate a problem. A person with Alzheimer’s will often lose their train of thought and be unable to return to the task at hand.

Typical age-related change

Occasionally missing a step in a recipe.

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3

STRUGGLING TO COMPLETE FAMILIAR TASKS

We all have routines and tasks we complete on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. If your loved one experiences a sudden interruption with their ability to complete these routines, you may want to contact their physician.

Typical age-related change

Needing help setting up a computer for the first time.

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4

CONFUSION WITH TIME OR PLACE

People living with Alzheimer’s are often confused with the passage of time and place. They may think they still live in their childhood home, or that they are living in a year long since passed.

Typical age-related change

Forgetting the day of the week, especially if they are retired.

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5

VISION PROBLEMS THAT AFFECT SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS

Alzheimer’s affects the part of the brain that handles depth perception, which is why many people ‘shuffle’ their feet in the later stages. Early on, you may notice a loved one that does not move around as freely as they once did or can no longer see distances.

Typical age-related change

Vision changes due to cataracts, Glaucoma, or Macular Degeneration.

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PROBLEMS WITH SPEAKING AND WRITING

Because people living with Alzheimer’s have trouble holding a train of thought, conversations can become difficult. They may stop in the middle of talking with the inability to go on. They may also slowly lose their vocabulary or call things by the wrong name.

Typical age-related change

Sometimes struggling to find the right word or stumbling over a sentence, but correcting themselves.

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7

MISPLACING THINGS WITHOUT FINDING THEM

A person may put things in odd places, like their car keys in the refrigerator. While we all misplace things from time to time, we are usually able to retrace our steps and locate our missing items.

Typical age-related change

Occasionally forgetting to put their keys on the designated key hook.

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8

POOR JUDGEMENT

No one is perfect, and it is understandable to make a poor decision once and awhile; however, people with Alzheimer’s lose their ability to make logical decisions. This leaves them vulnerable to car accidents, telephone scams, and losing large amounts of money.

Typical age-related change

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SOCIAL ISOLATION IN WORK AND LEISURE

Because someone living with Alzheimer’s struggles with mobility and communication you may see them withdraw from social situations. Things they once loved may no longer interest them. Social isolation and depression are very real health concerns for people living with cognitive impairment.

Typical age-related change

Sometimes turning down social obligations.

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10

CHANGES IN PERSONALITY AND MOOD

You may notice your loved one becoming moodier or see their personality change all together. Your usually sweet and agreeable loved one is suddenly combative. If you see a radical change in their mood or personality you should speak with their doctor.

Typical age-related change

Forgetting an old friend’s name or phone number but remembering it later.

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