What Are the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Posted By on September 1, 2023

We all experience the occasional forgetfulness or have mood swings from time to time, and this does not necessarily mean we should be concerned that there is an underlying issue. However, understanding the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease can help you know what to be on the lookout for. 

Accounting for 60% to 80% of all cases, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. This condition does affect everyone differently, but there are common symptoms that signal the onset of the disease. Because September is World Alzheimer’s Month, our team at HarborChase Senior Living is answering the question: What are the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease?

1. Comprehensive Memory Loss

While it may seem obvious, memory loss is one of the most prominent warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Your family member may experience frequent forgetfulness, such as not remembering important dates, repeatedly asking the same questions, or relying on memory aids to remember essential details.

2. Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition, and your family member may find it increasingly challenging to perform tasks that they have been doing for most, if not all, of their life. For example, they could forget how to drive to a familiar location, not remember how to operate the microwave, or follow the rules of a game they have always loved. 

3. Confusion with Time and Place

The Alzheimer’s Association states, “People living with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time.” Additionally, they may have difficulty remembering where they are or how they got there or have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. 

4. Challenges with Visual and Spatial Relationships

For those living with Alzheimer’s disease, experiencing difficulties judging distance or identifying colors and contrasts can be challenging. You may even notice your family member having trouble reading, driving, or determining the proper placement of objects.

5. Noticeable Changes in Mood and Personality

We all experience a wide range of emotions, but this becomes one of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease when it affects a person’s overall personality. “Individuals living with Alzheimer’s may experience mood and personality changes. They may become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious,” (Alzheimer’s Association).

6. Difficulty with Everyday Problem Solving

If your family member is having trouble planning or problem-solving, this could also be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. These types of tasks could include following a familiar recipe, managing finances, or completing activities that require multiple steps. Furthermore, your family member may take longer to complete these tasks or have difficulty concentrating.

7. Trouble with Language

People living with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble finding the right words when speaking, following a conversation, or participating in discussions. This could be noticeable if they stop talking in the middle of a sentence, repeat themselves, or frequently misuse words.

8. Misplacing Items and Having a Hard Time Retracing Steps

We all misplace things from time to time, but we are usually able to retrace our steps to locate whatever we have lost. Furthermore, we normally leave items in common places. 

Individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease misplace items frequently, are unable to retrace their steps, and often put items in odd places. For example, putting car keys in the refrigerator. Additionally, individuals may accuse others of stealing their belongings due to memory lapses, especially as their condition progresses.

9. Decreased Ability to Make Sound Judgments

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may experience impaired judgement, leading to uncharacteristic financial choices or personal grooming habits. You may notice your family member wear clothes they would not normally wear or make purchases that do not coincide with their spending habits, and these behaviors may become a regular occurrence.

10. Withdrawal from Social Activities

Because of the challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease, such as difficulty holding a conversation or feeling overwhelmed, individuals may withdraw from social activities or refrain from participating in the hobbies they once enjoyed.

Recognizing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is crucial for early intervention and finding appropriate care. If you are noticing any of these symptoms in your family member, reach out to a healthcare provider for a comprehensive evaluation.

Memory care communities like HarborChase offer specialized services and programs to support individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and provide a nurturing and engaging environment. As part of our memory care program, we are committed to filling residents’ days with purpose, new interests, and new friends. We diligently explore new and exciting opportunities for anyone facing cognitive challenges to improve wellness in mind, body, and soul.

To learn more about our memory care communities and all that we have to offer, visit our website or contact a member of the HarborChase team.