Forgetting new information is one of the most common early signs of dementia. Forgetting important events and asking for the same information over and over are also common symptoms of early stage Alzheimer’s disease. What’s typical? Forgetting names or appointments occasionally and remembering them later.
People with dementia often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a telephone call or playing a game. What’s typical? Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.
People with Alzheimer’s disease often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to understand. They may be unable to find the word, “toothbrush,” for example and instead ask for “that thing for my mouth.” What’s typical? Momentarily forgetting the day of the week or where you were going.
Those with Alzheimer’s may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing in the cold. They may show poor judgement, like giving away large sums of money to telemarketers. Whats typical? Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time.
Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are for and how they should be used. What’s typical? Finding it challenging to balance a checkbook.
A person with Alzheimer’s may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl. What’s typical? Misplacing keys or a wallet, but being able to retrace steps to find it later.
Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show rapid mood swings – from cal, to tears, to anger and aggression – for no apparent reason. They may become extremely confused, anxious, suspicious or dependent on a family member. What’s typical? Occasionally feeling sad or moody.
For some people, a change in visual processing may be a sign of early Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving. What’s typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.
A person with early stage Alzheimer’s disease may avoid being social because of the changes they’ve experienced. They may remove themselves from sports, social events and hobbies. They may become passive, sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleep more than usual or not want to perform daily living activities. What’s typical? Sometimes feeling weary of work or social obligations.
In addition to these signs, keep in mind that it is always a good idea to check with a doctor if a person’s level of function seems to be changing rapidly. The earlier you recognize that dementia is developing, the sooner you can mitigate its effects.