We’ve all had friends, relatives or acquaintances that have exhibited some signs of loss of mental acuity. Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is vital to helping protect the financial future of those affected and their families.
The Alzheimer’s Association® has created a list of 10 warning signs of the disease. For many people, symptoms may appear as a change in presentation or mannerisms. Each person is different and will not necessarily display all the following symptoms commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These warning signs are not always a sign of Alzheimer’s; they could be the sign of a disease that is treatable. If you know a friend or family member experiencing any of the following, encourage that person to schedule an appointment with a doctor immediately:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
Examples include forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events, or repeatedly asking for the same information.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
Some people may experience changes in their ability to follow a recipe or monitor monthly bills.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering rules to a favorite game.
- Confusion with time or place
Examples include losing track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. People with Alzheimer’s may, at times, forget where they are or how they got there.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
Some people with Alzheimer’s may have trouble reading, judging distance, and determining color or contrast, potentially causing problems with driving.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
This involves problems with following or joining conversations. People with Alzheimer’s may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue. They may also have trouble remembering words to identify objects (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock.”)
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
An example is placing things in unusual places and not remembering where the individual had been before losing them.
- Decreased or poor judgment
This includes making extravagant purchases or giving large amounts of money to telemarketers. People with dementia may also pay less attention to personal hygiene.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
Some people with Alzheimer’s may begin to have trouble following their favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a project associated with a favorite hobby.
- Changes in mood and personality
Mood changes can include confusion, depression, or the acts of being suspicious, fearful, or anxious. People with Alzheimer’s may also become easily upset at home, at work, or with friends.