Alzheimers Association has developed a list of warning signs that include common
symptoms of Alzheimers disease (some also apply to other dementing illnesses).
Individuals who exhibit several of these symptoms should see a physician for a complete
1. Memory loss that affects job
skills. Its normal to occasionally forget an assignment, deadline or
colleagues name, but frequent forgetfulness or unexplainable confusion at home or in
the workplace may signal that somethings wrong.
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. Busy
people get distracted from time to time. For example, you might leave something on the
stove too long or not remember to serve part of a meal. People with Alzheimers might
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 sentences difficult to
4. Disorientation to time and place. It's
normal to momentarily forget the day of the week or what you need from the store. 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 judgment. Choosing not to
bring a sweater or coat along on a chilly night is a common mistake. A person with
Alzheimer's, however, may dress inappropriately in more noticeable ways, wearing a
bathrobe to the store or several blouses on a hot day.
6. Problems with abstract thinking. Balancing a
checkbook can be challenging for many people, but for someone with Alzheimer's,
recognizing numbers or performing basic calculation may be impossible.
7. Misplacing things. Everyone temporarily
misplaces a wallet or keys from time to time. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put
these and other items in inappropriate places such as an iron in the freezer, or a
wristwatch in the sugar bowl then not recall how they got there.
8. Changes in mood or behavior. Everyone
experiences a broad range of emotions its part of being human. People with
Alzheimer's tend to exhibit more rapid mood swings for no apparent reason.
9. Changes in personality. People's
personalities may change somewhat as they age. But a person with Alzheimer's can change
dramatically, either suddenly or over a period of time. Someone who is generally easy
going may become angry, suspicious or fearful.
10. Loss of initiative. It's normal to tire of
housework, business activities, or social obligations, but most people retain or
eventually regain their interest. The person with Alzheimer's disease may remain
disinterested and uninvolved in many or all of his usual pursuits.