In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, symptoms are difficult to recognise as they can be easily confused with many other conditions, or states we find ourselves in from time to time, such as occasional forgetfulness or mild depression. However, in general, one of the key early warning signs of Alzheimer’s is increasing confusion and short-term memory loss, which becomes more apparent as the disease progresses.

Alzheimer’s is a complex and multifactorial disease with symptoms that can vary significantly between different people. This is in part due to the small genetic variations in our genome (or full genetic code) that make us unique and determines how we react to both our internal and external environments, states of health and disease. Another factor is that Alzheimer’s often occurs with other types of dementia, or conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, particularly in the over 65 age group.

While symptoms vary from person to person, in general there are a number of well-recognised ones that could potentially serve as an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s.

The most commons signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s

The following 10 symptoms are adapted from the American Alzheimer’s Association. Click on any one to learn more about potential warning signs and to read about my own personal experiences with Mum. As I cared for Mum, I found it helpful to understand that some of the things she was doing or experiencing (that seemed out of character) were in fact related to her Alzheimer’s. I hope you will be find it useful too.

Memory Loss

Not Just Occasional Forgetfulness

It’s more about difficulty with creating new memories

Impaired Judgement

Not just the occasional bad decision

It’s more about regularly making plainly unwise choices

Daily Tasks Become Challenging

Not just struggling to cook a new dish

It’s more about difficulty with familiar tasks

Confusion with Time and Place

Not just occasionally forgetting the time

It’s more about forgetting where you are

Regularly Losing Track of Things

Not just occasionally losing your keys

It’s more about putting things in strange places

Communication Difficulties

Not just occasionally forgetting a word

It’s about being no longer able to follow a conversation

Changes in Behaviour

Not just becoming moody or depressed

It’s about out-of-character changes in behaviour

Issues with Problem Solving

Not just struggling to balance the budget

It’s more about struggling to solve ever day issues

Changes in Vision and Spatial Awareness

Not just occasional stumbles

It’s more about having no spatial awareness

Disengaging from Social Activities

Not just about wanting some alone time

It’s more about withdrawing from society

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