Early detection matters when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. The sooner you know the signs, the sooner you can take advantage of the treatment opportunities that are available. It also gives you and your family time to understand the disease and plan for the future.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a wonderful resource for researching information about this disease, including how it’s diagnosed, its stages, treatments and the early warning signs and symptoms.
10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stages. Forgetting recently learned information and important dates or events, asking the same questions over and over, and an increasing need to rely on memory aids can all be early warning signs.
- Difficulty planning or solving problems. Following a plan and solving problems may become difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s, including tasks such as balancing a checkbook or following a familiar recipe. Trouble concentrating or taking much longer to do things than before might also be signs.
- Challenges with completing familiar tasks. People living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia can find it hard to complete daily tasks. They also may have trouble driving to a familiar location, organizing a grocery list or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
- Confusion with time or place. A common early warning sign can be losing track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. Sometimes individuals also forget where they are or how they got there.
- Trouble with visual images and spatial relationships. Because those living with the disease may experience changes in vision, they could have trouble determining color or contrast, judging distances and even reading.
- New problems with words. People living with Alzheimer’s may find it difficult to follow or join a conversation. They may also struggle with vocabulary, have trouble naming a familiar object or use the wrong name for an object.
- Misplacing things and not being able to retrace steps. Common signs can include putting items in unusual places, as well as losing things and not having the ability to retrace steps to find them again.
- Changes in judgment. Changes in judgment or decision-making can also occur. This can include anything from dealing with money to paying less attention to grooming and hygiene.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities. Some may withdraw from hobbies, social activities or other engagements or have trouble keeping up with a favorite activity.
- Changes in mood. Individuals with Alzheimer’s may experience mood and personality changes. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious, especially when out of their comfort zone.
Remember, there are also typical age-related changes that are similar to these early warning signs but don’t always mean Alzheimer’s. If you start to feel that any of these signs disrupt your daily life, it is imperative to see a doctor. The more you know about Alzheimer’s, the better you will be able to understand your treatment options.
FirstLight’s compassionate caregivers have experience caring for adults with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Learn more about our Dementia Care Services.