Alzheimer's Warning Signs

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Is It Alzheimer's?

Ten Warning Signs

1. RECENT MEMORY LOSS THAT AFFECTS JOB SKILLS

It's normal to occasionally forget assignments, colleagues' names, or a business associate's telephone number and remember them later. Those with a dementia such as Alzheimer's disease, may forget things more often, and not remember them later.

2. DIFFICULTY PERFORMING FAMILIAR TASKS

Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots of the stove and only remember to serve them at the end of the meal. People with Alzheimer's disease could prepare a meal and not only forget to serve it, but also forget they made it.

3. PROBLEMS WITH LANGUAGE

Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer's disease may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words, making his or her sentence incomprehensible.

4. DISORIENTATION OF TIME AND SPACE

It's normal to forget the day of the week or your destination for a moment. But people with Alzheimer's disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing where they are, how they got there or how to get back home.

5. POOR OR DECREASED JUDGEMENT

People can become so immersed in an activity that they temporarily forget the child they're watching. People with Alzheimer's disease could forget completely the child under their care. They may also dress inappropriately, wearing several shirts or blouses.

6. PROBLEMS WITH ABSTRACT THINKING

Balancing a check book may be disconcerting when the task is more complicated than usual. Someone with Alzheimer's disease could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.

7. MISPLACING THINGS

Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

8. CHANGES IN MOOD OR BEHAVIOR

Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer's disease can exhibit rapid mood swings - from calm to tears to anger - for no apparent reason.

9. CHANGES IN PERSONALITY

People's personalities ordinarily change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer's disease can change drastically, becoming extremely confused, suspicious, or fearful.

10. LOSS OF INITIATIVE

It's normal to tire of housework, business activities, or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. The person with Alzheimer's disease may become very passive and require cues and prompting to become involved.

Source: Alzheimer's Association Colorado Chapter

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