Although memory loss often occurs with age, Alzheimer’s disease goes beyond forgetting to pay a bill or losing things every now and then.
As the Alzheimer’s Association describes, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. It impairs intellectual abilities and memory enough to interfere with daily life and it accounts for over half of all dementia cases.
Top 10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
Although Alzheimer’s impacts everyone differently, the disease does show some early signs and symptoms. Here’s a list of the top 10 early signs of Alzheimer’s that may indicate the disease is present:
1. Difficulty remembering things that just happened.
Forgetting dates or events; repeatedly asking for the same information and relying more and more on family members or reminder notes to handle daily tasks.
2. Inability to plan or solve problems.
Struggling to track monthly bills or solve simple math problems. Taking longer to do these things may be another sign.
3. Losing track of dates, seasons and time.
If it isn’t happening right now, Alzheimer’s sufferers may not understand it. Forgetting where they are and how they got there are also common symptoms.
4. Misplacing things.
Putting items in unusual places; struggling to retrace steps to look for a lost item and, in some cases, accusing others of stealing.
5. Mood and personality changes.
Alzheimer’s can produce anxiety, confusion, depression or suspicion. It can make people become upset much more easily, especially when they’re away from home.
6. Poor decision-making.
Having poor judgment with money or frivolously giving it away. Some people with Alzheimer’s may stop grooming habits or keeping themselves clean.
7. Struggling with conversations.
Challenges with vocabulary, such as calling things by the wrong name, inability to follow or join a conversation and repeating the same stories.
8. Trouble completing familiar tasks.
Trouble driving to a familiar place, forgetting how to cook a simple meal or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
9. Vision problems.
Having difficulty identifying colors or contrasts, judging distance or reading. Poor driving may result.
10. Withdrawal from social or work activities.
Failing to complete work assignments, giving up hobbies or avoiding social situations.
The Benefits of an Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
People on the onset of Alzheimer’s may experience just one early warning sign or several — and signs will show in varying degrees.
While Alzheimer’s currently has no cure, an early diagnosis means early treatment. That increases a person’s chances of maintaining independence for as long as possible and having a voice in planning for their future.
Did any early signs of Alzheimer’s lead to a diagnosis for you or a loved one? Share your story with us in the comments below.