Know the Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease So You Can Get Help Early

Alzheimer Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in older adults1. The Mayo Clinic defines dementia as a group of symptoms that affect thinking and social abilities. These symptoms are serious enough to make your daily life difficult.2

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.2 But if you or a loved one receive an early diagnosis, you may start treatment earlier. Alz.org, the Alzheimer Association’s website, offers a helpful list of the signs of Alzheimer’s. If you or a loved one show any of these signs, see a doctor immediately.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. It’s a good time to learn the warning signs of this disease. Read more.

Memory loss that upsets daily life

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss. This is especially true if you forget recently learned information. Another sign is forgetting important dates or asking for the same information over and over.3

Trouble with planning or solving problems

People with Alzheimer’s may see changes in their ability to follow a plan or work with numbers. For instance, a familiar recipe may become challenging to follow, or they may have difficulty keeping track of monthly bills. This may be because they may have challenges concentrating and take much longer to do things than they used to.3

It's harder to do familiar tasks at home, work or at leisure

People with Alzheimer's may find it difficult to complete daily activities: for instance, driving to a location they know or managing a budget at work. In leisure, they may not remember the rules of a favorite game.3 These are some examples.

Confusion with time or place

People with Alzheimer's may have trouble understanding something if it’s not happening immediately. They may lose track of dates or seasons. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.3

Trouble understanding images and space

Having trouble seeing, a hard time reading, or judging distance may be signs of Alzheimer’s disease for some people. These issues may cause problems with driving.3

New problems with words in speaking or writing

People with Alzheimer's may have challenges when trying to follow or join a conversation. They may have problems finding the right word. They may stop in the middle of a conversation or repeat themselves. They may also call things by the wrong name.3

Misplacing things and not knowing how to retrace steps

A person with Alzheimer's disease may lose things and not be able to remember their steps to find them again.3

Poor judgment

People with Alzheimer's may have changes in judgment or decision-making. They may make poor choices when dealing with money. An example is giving large amounts of money to telemarketers.3

Staying away from work or social activities

A person with Alzheimer's may stop doing hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports because of the changes they have experienced from this disease. It may be hard to keep up with their favorite sports team or remember how to finish a project or hobby. They may even avoid being social in general.3

Changes in mood or personality

The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's may change. They may be easily upset at home, at work, or with friends or become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious.3

Where to find help

Alzheimer’s disease is hard on the people who have it and their loved ones. But the Alzheimer’s Association can help. Go to their website, http://www.alz.org/apps/findus.asp (link opens in new window). You can learn about programs and services available in your area. You can also find support groups and educational workshops.4

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. It’s a good time to learn the warning signs of this disease. Read more.

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