Alzheimer’s disease is a physical, progressive disease of the brain, with a subtle onset of symptoms.
The symptoms can sometimes be attributed to normal ageing and therefore be easily dismissed or overlooked.
The following symptoms are not always a normal part of the ageing process, and it’s important to be aware of them. Take action, seek further explanation and get connected to support.
Important note: Having any one of these signs does not necessarily mean a person has dementia; however, it is wise to seek medical advice and investigate the cause of the symptoms.
10 Warning Signs
1. Memory loss
Forgetting things more often and not remembering them later; for example, forgetting the car is parked at the mall and taking the bus home. Normal age-related change: Forgetting the name of a person momentarily or forgetting an appointment and recalling it later.
2. Difficulty with familiar tasks
Having trouble with simple tasks such as making a cup of coffee or a sandwich; remembering the rules of a favourite game. Normal age-related change: Needing occasional help with the settings on the T.V., computer or another device.
3. Difficulty with language
Struggling with vocabulary, frequently experiencing trouble finding the right word or calling things by the wrong name. Normal age-related change: Having difficulty finding the right word from time to time.
4. Confusion of time and place
Becoming lost in a familiar neighbourhood or not knowing how you arrived at a particular place; difficulty with finding your way home. Normal age-related change: Momentarily forgetting the day of the week or the reason you went into a room.
5. Poor judgment
Unusual changes in judgment or decision making, such as wearing a heavy sweater on a hot day or being unable to make decisions that used to be simple. Normal age-related change: Making poor decisions occasionally, such as putting off a doctor’s visit despite being sick.
6. Problems with abstract thinking
Having difficulty with numbers, like finding the right coins for the bus, being unable to read a non-digital clock, or not knowing what the numbers mean on a cheque. Normal age-related change: Having occasional difficulty doing simple calculations.
7. Misplacing things
Putting items in odd places, like putting the milk in the pantry, placing car keys in the bathroom cabinet, or being unable to think back through the activities of the day to determine where the keys could have been left. Normal age-related change: Forgetting where you left the keys from time to time and being able to retrace your steps to retrieve them.
8. Changes in mood and behaviour
Acting out of character; having rapid changes in mood for no apparent reason, like becoming easily angry, upset or increasingly suspicious. Normal age-related change: Getting upset and anxious when a set routine is changed.
9. Changes in personality
Acting very different than usual; appearing confused, fearful, apathetic or lacking confidence. An outgoing person may become more introverted, or vice versa. Normal age-related change: some personality changes can sometimes happen over time, but they are not dramatically different or prominent changes for the person.
10. Loss of initiative
Inability or difficulty with beginning a task (without cues or prompting). Withdrawing from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. Normal age-related change: Feeling tired of work, family or social obligations at times.
If you are concerned about any of these signs in yourself or a family member, please consult a physician