March 5, 2019

Yes, changes in memory are natural and normal as we age. But the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia can be more serious than the usual lapses in memory.

In essence, Alzheimer’s and dementia start to affect our social activities, work and family relationships. While the following tips can be helpful, always check with a doctor if you suspect your level of function is changing. Early care can help.

Memory loss
The inability to retain new information is a common early sign of dementia. This may involve repeatedly asking the same questions, or forgetting important events.

Familiar tasks are becoming more difficult
Do you find yourself having trouble cooking, finding your way around town or lose track of the steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a telephone call or playing a game. What’s typical?Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.

Any issues speaking or writing?
One sign is when people often forget simple words or find themselves using the wrong words.

Confusing places and times
Most people forget what day of the week is on occasion, or may walk into a room and forget why they went there. But becoming lost in your own neighborhood or forgetting where you are or how you got there are two possible signs.

Errors in judgment
Those suffering from Alzheimer’s may find themselves falling victim to telemarketers or scammers or may dress the wrong way for the weather or the occasion. Everybody makes a fashion mistake on occasion, but dementia is more than that.

Abstract thinking issues
Sure, dealing with a checkbook can be a pain, but if you’re forgetting how to use numbers, that may be a sign.

Often losing things in odd ways and being unable to retrace your steps 
It’s infuriating but typical to misplace your keys. But if you put them in the freezer and put the ice cream in the bedroom bureau, there may be something going on.

Mood or behavior changes
Sudden anger, sudden tears, confusion, aggression for no apparent reason can be warning signs. Most people get angry when somebody cuts them off rudely on the road, and most people will feel sad on occasion, but when the mood changes seem inexplicable, it may be time to ask your doctor.

Trouble reading or driving
Trouble dealing with spatial relationships may be a sign of approaching dementia.

Early Alzheimer’s may cause some people to avoid being social. Not wanting to endure a potentially troubling family get-together isn’t unusual, but becoming excessively passive and sitting in front of the TV for hours isn’t.