Alzheimer's/Dementia: Think About It
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease beginning with memory loss that disrupts everyday life. This gets worse over time creating an inability to perform everyday tasks like getting dressed. Most people with Alzheimer's or a related dementia are over age 65, but younger onset can begin at age 40.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's / Dementia
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Forgetting recently-learned information
- Forgetting important dates and events
- Asking for the same information repeatedly
- Increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family for things formerly handled independently
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Changes in ability to develop and follow a plan or with with numbers
- Trouble keeping track of monthly bills or following familiar recipes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- At home, work or at leisure
- Trouble driving to a familiar location
- Difficulty managing a budget at work
- Confusion with time or place
- Losing track of dates, seasons and time passing
- Forgetting their current location or how they arrived there
- Trouble with vision and spatial relationships
- Difficulty reading
- Trouble judging distance
- Issues determining color or contrast
- Problems with words in speaking or writing
- Trouble following or joining a conversation
- Repeating themselves
- Problems finding the right word
- Calling things by the wrong name
- Misplacing things and difficulty retracing steps
- Putting things in unusual places
- Losing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them
- Accusing others of stealing
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Using poor judgment when dealing with money
- Paying less attention to grooming or keeping clean
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Being removed from hobbies, work projects, social activities and sports
- Avoiding being social
- Changes in mood and personality
- Becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious
- May be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places out of their comfort zone
Learn more through the Alzheimer's Association at alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs.
Reduce Your Risk
Alzheimer's cannot be prevented, but research shows that certain healthy habits may delay onset. Learn more through the Alzheimer's Association at alz.org/help-support/brain_health/10_ways_to_love_your_brain.
Ask your doctor for a brief cognitive assessment during each annual checkup
Early detection of Alzheimer's is the best predictor of effective treatment. Your doctor should conduct the assessment if they notice any changes in your cognitive ability. You may also request an assessment during each annual checkup to monitor your cognitive abilities from year to year. Learn more through the Alzheimer's Association at alz.org/professionals/health-systems-clinicians/cognitive-assessment.
BEFORE the assessment, your doctor may ask:
- Do you get lost while walking or driving in familiar places?
- Do you have problems writing checks, paying bills or balancing the checkbook?
- Do you have difficulty shopping for groceries by yourself?
DURING the assessment, your doctor may ask:
- Please remember this name and address.
- Can you tell me something that happened in the news recently?
- What was the name and address I asked you to remember?