alzheimer-logoThe Alzheimer’s Association says holiday gatherings are a good time for people to assess older relatives for signs of dementia. Sue Friedman, President and CEO the Central and Western Virginia chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, says Alzheimer’s Disease is not a normal part of aging and those who notice the warning signs need to take action.


Every individual may experience one or more of the 10 Warning Signs in different degrees (see

below). If you notice any of them, please see a doctor.

Alzheimer’s Association 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is

memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting

important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on

memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things

they used to handle on one’s own.

-What’s typical: Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them


2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes

in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble

following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty

concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.

-What’s typical: Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with

Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have

trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering therules of a favorite game.

-What’s typical: Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to

record a television show.

4. Confusion with time or place: People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates,

seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it

is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they

got there.

-What’s typical: Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people,

having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading,

judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may

pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the

person in the mirror.

-What’s typical: Vision changes related to cataracts.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have

trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a

conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They

may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the

wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).

-What’s typical: Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s

disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go

back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing.

This may occur more frequently over time.

-What’s typical: Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the

remote control.

8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in

judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing

with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to

grooming or keeping themselves clean.

-What’s typical: Making a bad decision once in a while.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to

remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may

have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a

favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have


-What’s typical: Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with

Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or

anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they

are out of their comfort zone.

-What’s typical: Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable

when a routine is disrupted.