Memory changes are normal as we grow older, but the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are more than simple lapses. People with Alzheimer’s experience problems communicating, learning, thinking, and reasoning that eventually become severe enough to impact an individual’s work, social activities, and family life. It is critical for people with dementia and their families to receive information, care and support as early as possible. To help recognize the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, below is a checklist of 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s.
1. Memory Loss. One of the most common signs of early dementia is forgetting recently learned information. While it’s normal to forget appointments, names or telephone numbers, those with dementia will forget such things more often and not remember them later.
2. Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks. People with dementia often find it hard to complete everyday tasks; they may not know how to prepare a meal, use a household appliance, or engage in a lifelong hobby.
3. Problems With Language. Everyone struggles for the right word at times, but a person with Alzheimer’s often forgets even common words or substitutes odd words.
4. Disorientation To Time And Place. It’s normal to forget what day it is or where you’re going sometimes, but people with Alzheimer’s can become lost on their own street. They may forget where they are and how they got there, and may not know how to get back home.
5. Poor Or Decreased Judgment. Those with Alzheimer’s may wear several shirts on a warm day or very little clothing in cold weather. They also often show poor judgment about money, giving away large sums or paying for repairs or products they don’t need.
6. Problems With Abstract Thinking. Balancing a checkbook can be challenging, but a person with Alzheimer’s may forget what the numbers represent and what to do with them.
7. Misplacing Things. Anyone can misplace a wallet or key, but person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places, like keys in the freezer or a phone in the fruit bowl.
8. Changes In Mood Or Behavior. Anyone can be moody at times, but someone with Alzheimer’s often has rapid mood swings, from calm to sad to angry, for no apparent reason.
9. Changes In Personality. Attitudes do adjust some with age, but a person with Alzheimer’s can change dramatically, becoming extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent.
10. Loss Of Initiative. It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations at times, but a person with Alzheimer’s may become very passive, sitting in front of the television for hours, sleeping more than usual, or not wanting to do usual activities.
If you or a loved one recognize any of these 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s, contact the Juniper Village nearest you. We offer home visits and clinical assessments to help you better understand your care and support needs.