Know the early warning signs

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MEMORY loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Almost 40 percent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss and while there is no underlying medical condition causing this memory loss, it is a normal part of the aging process known as “age-associated memory impairment.”

Despite this, there is certainly a difference between age-associated memory impairment and different forms of dementia, with the later involving more extreme memory impairment that will involve forgetting huge swathes of recent information.

Here are ten warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. If you notice any of them, don’t ignore them and schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Memory loss that disrupts daily life

Forgetting recently learned information is one of the most common signs. This can include forgetting important dates or events, asking the same questions over and over, and/or increasingly needing to rely on memory aids or family members for things typically handled individually.

Challenges in planning or problem solving

Some people living with dementia may experience changes in their ability to develop a plan, work with numbers, remember a familiar recipe or keep track of monthly bills.

Difficulty completing familiar tasks

Simple daily tasks, such as driving to a familiar location, organising a grocery list, or remembering the rules to a favourite game are extremely difficult.

Confusion with time or place

People living with dementia can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time and will often have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately.

Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

For some people, problems with vision is a sign of dementia. This may lead to difficulty with balance and trouble reading. This may also involve problems judging distance and determining colour or contrast, causing issues with driving.

New problems with words

People living with dementia may have trouble following or joining a conversation or they may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue. They may also struggle with vocabulary or have trouble naming a familiar object or use the wrong name.

Decreased or poor judgement

Individuals living with dementia may experience changes in judgement or decision-making.

Withdrawal from work or social activities

A person living with dementia may experience changes in their ability to hold or follow a conversation and as a result, he or she may withdraw from hobbies, social activities or other engagements.

Changes in mood and personality

Individuals living with dementia may experience mood or personality changes. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious and may become easily upset at home, with friends, or when outside of their comfort zone.