10 symptoms suggest beginning Alzheimer's

You're deep in a conversation with a friend and suddenly you can't remember an acquaintance's name.

You can see her face. That name is almost, almost there. But not quite.

Five minutes later, that name comes to you. No big deal, but then you wonder, "Am I losing my memory? Should I be concerned?"

Probably not. We all have memory lapses every now and then, and with information overload on a daily basis, it's no wonder. But there are some early signs of Alzheimer's disease.

The Alzheimer's Association offers these 10 early signs and symptoms to consider if an aging friend or loved one's behavior has changed. They could signal Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life

There's forgetting a name, and then there's forgetting something you just learned or asking the same questions repeatedly. New, extreme reliance on memory prompts such as lists, is another sign.

• Difficulty planning or solving problems

The family cook might have trouble following a recipe that has been a kitchen staple for 30 years. A family member might have trouble keeping track of monthly bills.

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks

This includes losing your way to the church you attend regularly or to a friend's house, or forgetting the rules of SEC football when you've been a fan since your college days.

• Time or place confusion

In addition to forgetting where they are or how they got there, a person who is developing dementia might forget what month or season of the year it is.

• Trouble with spatial relationships

This can affect driving or walking. It includes trouble judging distance, color and contrast.

• New speaking or writing difficulties

One example is being in the middle of a conversation with friends and suddenly being unable to continue in the conversation. The person may struggle with once-familiar words or call things by the wrong name.

• Misplacing items, difficulty backtracking

We all misplace things, but a person with early Alzheimer's might put them in unusual locations (car keys in the freezer, for example). Once the item is misplaced, the person has difficulty retracing steps to find it.

The person might accuse others of stealing, and this problem can increase over time.

• Poor judgment

The scary incidents include giving large sums of money to strangers, but more subtle signs include a marked decrease in grooming.

• Withdrawal from activities

This includes withdrawing from clubs, sports or social gatherings that once brought enjoyment. Because they can tell something is amiss, they want to avoid others so the problems are less likely to be detected.

• Mood, personality changes

Has someone close to you who is aging suddenly become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious? Is that person unusually upset if serious lapses are noted? Is he easily flustered in situations that normally wouldn't faze him?

The Alzheimer's Association advises scheduling an appointment with a doctor if these signs are apparent.

ActiveStyle on 03/20/2017

Log in to comment