Is it Alzheimer’s? Ten Warning Signs You Should Know

The difference between “normal forgetfulness” and dementia is that a person with dementia may not remember information even when their memory is “jogged”. Typically symptoms develop over time. However, some people with Alzheimer’s can mask their symptoms for some time. As you look at the warning signs keep in mind that we may all do some of the things on the list. The difference is rather or not these issues are happening so much that they are starting to interfere with our daily lives. A person displaying several of the items on the list should see a doctor for a complete evaluation or call Alzheimer’s Family Services for information on a free memory screen.

1) Memory loss that affects job skills: Not remembering co-workers names, phone numbers, or job assignments is often one of the first signs of dementia.

2) Difficulty performing familiar tasks: A person with Alzheimer’s may turn the stove on to cook and forget what they were cooking or they may go into the bathroom to fix their hair and not remember why they came into the bathroom.

3) Problems with language: A person with Alzheimer’s may sometimes use improper words in conversation, forget what they are saying mid-sentence, or used a similar sounding word.

4) Disorientation to time and place: People with Alzheimer’s can become lost on their own street, not knowing how they got there or how to return home. They often forget what year or season it is; or may think they are living in a different time of their life (e.g. living as if it were 20 or 40 years ago).

5) Poor or decreased judgment: A person with Alzheimer’s may not be able to make proper judgments for themselves or others. An example may be choosing inappropriate clothing for the occasion or weather.

6) Problems with Abstract thinking: Numbers become a big mystery for people with Alzheimer’s. This may start with something as small as paying a check inappropriately at a restaurant and can grow into bigger issues.

7) Misplacing Things: We all misplace things, but a person with Alzheimer’s will place an object in inappropriate places such as a brush in the washing machine or freezer.

8) Changes in mood or behavior: Rapid mood changes can be a sign of Alzheimer’s. A person with Alzheimer’s can rapidly change from one extreme to the other for no apparent reason.

9) Changes in Personality: Common changes in personality associated with Alzheimer’s include but are not limited to: extreme confusion, anxiety, or fearfulness as well as paranoia and/or hallucinations.

10) Loss of Initiative: A person with Alzheimer’s may in some instances become very withdrawn and may need cues and prompting to become involved.

If you or a loved one is having more than one sign that is interfering with daily life, please contact your physician or Alzheimer’s Family Services about a free memory screen!


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