10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s 

At the present time, more than 6 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This number is expected to reach 13 million in less than 30 years. One-third of all seniors die with Alzheimer’s or some other type of dementia. 

The Alzheimer’s Association has identified 10 warning signs of the condition. These are:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or problem solving
  • Difficulty in completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images or spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social settings
  • Changes in mood or personality

Each of these signs are discussed in turn in this article. 

Memory Loss That Disrupts Daily Life

An early indication that a person might be developing Alzheimer’s is memory loss that begins to disrupt that individual’s daily life. The Alzheimer’s Association has succinctly explained the nature if this life-altering memory loss:

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stage, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking the same questions over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g. reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

Challenges in Planning or Solving Problems

Some individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s may experience difficulties in developing or following a plan. They may have issues working with numbers. Examples of how these challenges may exhibit themselves include:

  • Inability to keep track of monthly bill
  • Inability to follow a recipe
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Some tasks take significantly long to complete

Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks

Another of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s is not being able to complete familiar tasks. These can include such regularly undertaken tasks that include:

  • Making a grocery list
  • Driving to a familiar destination
  • Remember rules associated with a favorite game

Confusion With Time or Place

As a sign of Alzheimer’s, confusion with time and place can be significant. It can include confusion associated with some very basis matters. Examples of confusion with space and time includes:

  • Lose track of dates
  • Lose track of seasons
  • Lose track of the passage of time
  • Trouble understanding something that is not happening immediately
  • Forget where they are
  • Forget how the got there

Trouble Understanding Visual Images or Spatial Relationships

Some individuals with Alzheimer’s have vision issues. These issues can lead to problems with reading and maintaining balance. A person with Alzheimer’s related vision issues may have other problems that include:

  • Problems judging distance
  • Problems determining color
  • Problems discerning contrast

These vision issues can cause very real problems with things like driving. 

New Problems With Words in Speaking or Writing

A person with Alzheimer’s may develop significant issues following or participating in a conversation. An individual with Alzheimer’s may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no real idea how to continue. The Alzheimer’s Association provides an example: 

They may struggle with vocabulary, have trouble naming a familiar object or use the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).

Misplacing Things and Losing the Ability to Retrace Steps

We all misplace things … and that can become more common when we age. However, there is a difference between that normal occurrence and misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps associated with Alzheimer’s. A sign of Alzheimer’s is an individual who places things in unusual places and later has no idea where they were placed. Moreover, such an individual lacks a basic ability to retrace his or her steps.

Decreased or Poor Judgment

The Alzheimer’s Association advises that a significant number of people with developing Alzheimer’s exhibited decreased or poor judgment. Deficient judgment can be exhibited in a number of ways that include some of the more obvious ones like overspending. However, it also includes poor decision making that results in less attention to grooming and bathing. 

Withdrawal From Work or Social Settings

Another key sign that a person may have Alzheimer’s is a complete or nearly complete withdrawal from work or social settings. The primary reason this occurs is because an individual with advancing Alzheimer’s has a growing difficulty following conversations. In simple terms, person with Alzheimer’s cannot keep track of what is being said and can’t get involved in a conversation as a consequence.

Changes in Mood and Personality

Finally, when it comes to signs of Alzheimer’s, a person with the condition may exhibit changes in mood and personality. Some of the more commonplace types of mood or personality alterations include

  • Confusion
  • Becoming suspicious
  • Depression
  • Becoming fearful
  • Becoming anxious

In addition, a person with Alzheimer’s is apt to become easily upset at home. An individual might also become easily upset when with friends. Odds are an individual with Alzheimer’s will become upset when out of his or her comfort zone.