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Top 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted on: Feb 10, 2019

It is completely normal for people to experience some changes in memory as they grow older. And while the occasional lapse in memory isn’t necessarily something families should worry about; the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease could signify a more serious health issue. People with Alzheimer’s often experience a variety of different issues with communicating, reasoning, learning and thinking clearly. Over time, these memory changes can make it hard for people with Alzheimer’s to maintain a healthy social life, close relationships and commit time to work.

But how can you tell the difference between “normal” memory changes and something more serious? Thanks to the Alzheimer’s Association, there is a handy checklist available that highlights common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to schedule a check-up with your doctor. From there, they can help to give you a clear diagnosis and additional support for yourself and your loved ones.

What are the 10 Most Common Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

1. Memory Changes that Disrupt Day-To-Day Life

One of the most common warning signs of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease is when people start to forget recently learned information. This could include important information like upcoming doctor’s appointments, bill due dates, service calls, etc. It is also very common for people in the early stages of the disease to repeatedly ask for the same information over and over. Additionally, the use of memory aids including family members may become necessary to remember the simplest of tasks and date reminders.

Occasionally forgetting names and dates but remembering them later on isn’t something most people have to worry about. This is typically a sign of normal age-related memory changes.

2. Difficulties with Solving Problems and Planning

Alzheimer’s may cause some people to experience changes in their ability to create a plan, follow through with planning or make it difficult to work with numbers. Loved ones may notice that their parents are having problems following familiar recipes or keeping track of their regular monthly bills. Additionally, it may take them much longer to complete tasks that they previously had no issues with.

But occasional errors like making a mistake when balancing a checkbook shouldn’t signal alarm bells.

3. Challenges Completing Familiar Chores and Tasks at Home, in the Office or at Play

Completing daily tasks is often very difficult for people with Alzheimer’s. They may experience issues getting to and from work, completing their morning routine or forget the rules to their favorite board game. However, occasionally seeking assistance with chores or navigating their smartphone are both typical age-related memory changes.

4. Confusion Surrounding Times or Places

As Alzheimer’s develops, it is also very common for people to lose track of important dates, like birthdays and anniversaries. It may also be hard to recognize the passage of time or the changing of the seasons. For example, if your mother once counted down the days until Thanksgiving but has forgotten to plan her holiday meal altogether, that may be a sign of atypical age-related memory changes.

5. Vision Issues or Difficulty Understanding Spatial Relationships

Vision problems can be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s for some people. They may notice that they’re having trouble reading, determining colors and judging the distance between objects – particularly when driving. However, vision issues related to cataracts aren’t typically a sign of Alzheimer’s.

6. Developing Problems with Speaking and/or Writing

It can be hard for people with Alzheimer’s to engage in everyday conversation. They may have trouble following conversations or find it difficult to join in where they once would have easily carried on with others. It is also very common for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia to have trouble recalling certain words or even calling things by the wrong name.

7. Misplacing Items and the Inability to Retrace Steps

Loved ones may find that their parents or elder family members with Alzheimer’s tend to put items away in unusual places. This is often the result of setting an item down and being unable to retrace their last steps to find them once again. Over time, this can result in frustration and anger, making it very common for people with the disease to accuse others of stealing from them.

8. Decreased or Poor Judgment

Making decisions can become increasingly difficult for people with Alzheimer’s disease. They may also show signs of decreased or poor judgment that can result in difficult situations. For example, people with the Alzheimer’s may have poor judgment when it comes to their money and end up spending frivolously on catalog or online shopping.

9. Increased Isolation

As Alzheimer’s disease develops, it is very common for people to begin withdrawing themselves from their favorite hobbies, social activities and work commitments. They may find it difficult to remember how to play their favorite sports and avoid social situations because of other related memory problems.

10. Mood Swings and Personality Changes

Because people with Alzheimer’s often find themselves feeling lost or confused, they can go through a wide range of mood changes in a single day. They may shift from anxious to depressed, become fearful and suspicious and finally, angry. They can easily become upset whether they are on their own or with family. And often avoid spending time anywhere outside of their comfort zone.

Early Detection for Alzheimer’s Matters

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these common warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease it is important to get checked as soon as possible. Early detection for Alzheimer’s and dementia can make a difference and improve your overall quality of life for many years to come. If you have noticed any of these warning signs, please don’t ignore them and schedule an appointment with your doctor today.

At the Philadelphia Protestant Home, we offer compassionate and comprehensive care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-related conditions. Interested in learning more about our welcoming continuing care retirement community? Contact us more information or to schedule a tour!

What Residents Say

"In my two years at PPH, I’ve grown to like it very much. At first, I felt like a stranger and then as I began to talk to people, we increasingly became good friends. A way to meet people is to join clubs. I’m now part of the PPH Auxiliary. I love helping with their flea markets because you never know what you can find. Recently, I’ve joined an evening quilting class. I love that I can continue to enjoy my life outside of PPH while experiencing the offers here.….especially the pool! Everything is just so convenient.

– Lucille Hite, Independent Living resident

What Families Say

"My mom is sooo happy at PPH, I can’t even describe it in strong enough words. She’s met so many new friends and these ladies do EVERYTHING together! She sees Dad every day in Pathways, but can have her life too. She’s gone to so many activities and I think I’ve already been to Scoops with her at least 15 times. She loves the dining room and Bistro too. My sister, Ilene, and I are so delighted that Mom is happy.......Wow, it feels like Mom’s been there about 2 years—but it’s only 2 months!! That’s how comfortable and natural it feels for her – and for all of us.

– Rhonda Frenkel, daughter of residents Jack & Bernice Segal

Philadelphia Protestant Home