Get Healthy Carson City: Noticing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease

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Changes in memory are normal as we grow older. Some people notice changes in themselves before anyone else sees them. In other cases, friends and family are the first to notice changes in memory, behavior or abilities. It may be hard to know the difference between age-related changes and the first signs of dementia. It’s important to know what to look for and what to talk to your doctor about.
• Disruption to Daily Life
One of the biggest disruptions to daily life is memory loss, which may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Alzheimer's is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.
• Identify Concerns
Family and friends are often the first to notice changes. They know regular behaviors of loved ones and can spot any changes or new challenges. Identifying early signs of Alzheimer’s can open the door for conversations and support.
It is important to know what to do if changes are noticed. Four important steps include: Identifying concerns, having a conversation, finding support and seeing a doctor.
Identify Concerns: What changes in memory, thinking or behavior do you see? What else is going on in your loved one’s life? Has anyone else noticed changes?
Have a Conversation: Decide who will have the conversation with the loved one. Consider the best time/place to have a discussion. Identify any concerns. What will be said? Offer to give support and go to doctor’s appointments.
Find Support: The Alzheimer’s Association offers support, information and resources 24/7.
See A Doctor: Help schedule doctor’s appointments or encourage the person to schedule as soon as possible.
• Early Detection is Key
There are 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's that can help identify concerns in yourself or a family member. If you or someone you care about is experiencing any of these signs, please see a doctor to find the cause. Early diagnosis gives you a chance to seek treatment and plan for your future.
10 Early Signs and Symptoms
• Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
The Norm: Sometimes forgets names and appointments, but is able to remember later.
Concern: Forgets learned/memorized information such as birthdates, events and familiar people

• Challenges in planning or solving problems.
The Norm: Occasionally making errors managing finances and bills. Delay in calling people back.
Concern: Unable to follow or develop a plan, remembering familiar information, dates, recipes, phone numbers, etc.
• Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
The Norm: Needs help with technology and support with physical activities.
Concern: Trouble driving to familiar locations, reading instructions to favorite games, creating routine shopping lists, etc.
• Confusion with time or place
The Norm: Confused by time/date/day of the week, but is able to recall later.
Concern: Losing track of dates, seasons or passages of time. Trouble understanding something if not happening immediately. Easily forgets how or why they got somewhere.
• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
The Norm: Change in vision.
Concern: Perception of what is seen has changed.
• New problems with words in speaking or writing
The Norm: Temporarily forgetting people’s names. Gets distracted, but able to refocus.
Concern: Struggle remembering common words, can forget what they’re saying mid-sentence.
• Misplacing things and losing ability to retrace steps.
The Norm: Losing keys, but eventually is able to find.
Concern: Can’t remember putting things somewhere, is unable to identify items, memory appears to be gone.
• Decreased or poor judgment.
The Norm: Feeling tired and not wanting to do routine activities.
Concern: Unable to complete care-tasks, unmotivated to clean, becomes noticeably impulsive.
• Withdrawal from work or social activities.
The Norm: Uninterested in attending events.
Concern: Withdraws from regular hobbies and social engagements, has trouble keeping up with favorite sports teams or activities.
• Changes in mood and personality.
The Norm: Has a specific way of doing things and is notably frustrated when normal routines are disrupted.
Concern: Fearful, anxious, noticeable change in personality and gets confused easily.
• Support is There
The Alzheimer’s Association provides the most updated information about healthy aging. Information and resources are available 24/7 by calling the Helpline at 800-272-3900. The Helpline can offer support to you, patients and caregivers with questions and resources. Additional information and resources are available at and


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