The Alzheimer’s Association provides the following list of 10 early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
1. Memory Loss that Disrupts Daily Life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stage, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same information over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
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 trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
3. Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks at Home, at Work, or at Leisure. People with Alzheimer’s disease often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes they may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
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.
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, which may cause problems with driving.
6. New Problems with Words in Speaking or Writing. People with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of 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.
7. Misplacing Items and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps. A person with Alzheimer’s 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.
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.
9. Withdrawal from Work or Social Activities. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
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.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association