6 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

6 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

  • July 05, 2018

When a senior in the family becomes a little forgetful or starts repeating things over and over, loved ones often worry they are developing Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes the issue is actually a health problem that can be treated, such as a urinary tract infection or a vitamin B12 deficiency.  But for some older adults these symptoms can be caused by dementia.

If you are concerned about a senior in your life, we encourage you to take a few minutes to review the common signs of Alzheimer’s and similar forms of dementia.

6 Early Signs an Older Loved One Might Have Dementia 

Keep an eye out for these early Alzheimer’s warning signs and document how often they occur so you can share the information with the senior’s primary care physician:

  1. Forgetfulness: In a fast-paced world it is easy to forget things on occasion. When memory loss is serious enough to affect a senior’s independence and ability to manage their own schedule, it is a red flag that needs to be discussed with a physician. Take notes on what type of things your loved one forgets (e.g., where their favorite grocery store is or a close friend’s name), how often, and whether or not they remember it later.
  2. Changing disposition: A change in temperament or disposition can also be an early sign of dementia. Becoming tearful easily, quick to anger, agitation, mood swings, and paranoia can all be signs of dementia. 
  3. Abstract thought: Someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or a similar form of dementia might begin to struggle with abstract thought process. Multi-step activities and tasks become increasingly difficult to complete. A few examples include paying bills, scheduling doctors’ appointments, and following a recipe. 
  4. Declining personal hygiene: If an older adult who has always been fastidious about their appearance is letting their personal hygiene slide, it can be a sign they are struggling with self-care. It might be that they just can’t care for themselves because of a decline in flexibility and strength. But forgetting to shower or wash their hair may also be a sign of dementia that should be documented and discussed with the senior’s primary care physician.
  5. Misplacing things: Some people are inherently disorganized. They frequently lose their cell phone and wallet. In most cases, however, the adult can re-trace their steps and locate whatever it is they misplaced. For an adult with early dementia, losing things or putting belongings in unusual places (e.g., a wallet in the freezer or the car keys in the microwave) becomes commonplace. For these people, memory loss compounds the issue. Because they often can’t remember the places they visited that day, it makes finding misplaced items more difficult.
  6. Withdrawing from social life: Another warning sign that something is amiss is a senior who has started to withdraw from social activities, family gatherings, religious involvement, and volunteer work. This is often because the senior is embarrassed that they can’t keep a conversation going or that they aren’t able to remember people’s names. It is easier to withdraw and isolate themselves at home.

Memory Care at Five Star Senior Living

If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it’s important to know that Five Star Senior Living is here to help. Our innovative and award-winning memory care program, known as the Bridge to Rediscovery, is here to help. Call the community nearest you to learn more today!


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51 Warning Signs

51 Warning Signs

As you care for your aging loved ones, learn how to spot unusual behaviors ranging from poor nutrition to depression.

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