The 6 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease to Look for in a Loved One

Photo of a senior for the article The Signs of Alzheimers Disease to Look for in a Loved One

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common types of dementia and according to the Alzheimer’s Association article “Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” it now affects more than 7 million Americans. Although it is most prevalent in people older than 65, it can also strike people in their 30s and 40s. But knowing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease to look for is key to helping a loved one get treatment sooner, live better and possibly even slow progression of the disease.

6 signs of Alzheimer’s disease to look for

#1: Memory problems

One of the first signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. The tricky part is to discern the difference between memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and forgetfulness which is part of normal aging. According to the nia.nih.gov article, “Memory Problems, Forgetfulness, and Aging,” while it’s quite normal for older adults to forget things occasionally, consistently forgetting is a red flag.

For example, the article notes that there are several specific signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease including asking the same questions over and over, getting lost in familiar places, and forgetting about personal hygiene or eating. When any of these signs occur, the best step is to see a physician to determine if the problem is Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment or something else.

#2: Problems managing finances

When a senior loved one can’t manage simple household finances like paying bills, it’s another of the signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease. The healthline.com article, “A Caregiver’s Guide to Managing Finances for Alzheimer’s Disease,” also notes that excessive spending, impulsive purchases, losing wallets or credit/debit cards, problems understanding basic math, and giving away money or other possessions are also among the signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease.

#3: Problems with driving

Many seniors experience problems driving due to hearing and vision impairment, but there are other concerns with Alzheimer’s disease. Driving is a complex undertaking that requires remembering not only how to get somewhere, but all the rules of the road as well. According to the alz.org article, “Dementia and Driving,” other driving problems may be the failure to obey traffic signs and signals, driving too slow or too fast, mixing up the brake and gas pedals, anger and confusion while driving, and forgetting the destination. For help transitioning a loved one away from driving, the newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org article, “Alzheimer’s and dementia: When to stop driving,” offers excellent tips.

Download our free ebook, “Just the Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care”.

#4: Trouble communicating

Another of the signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease is trouble communicating. Although many seniors sometimes struggle to find the right word, when it happens more and more often it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the alz.org article “Communication and Alzheimer’s”, communication problems to watch for include repeating words, losing their train of thought often, problems using words correctly, describing rather than naming objects, and using gestures instead of words to communicate. As the disease progresses communication often becomes more difficult and frustrating for seniors and caregivers. To help ease the strain, check out the nia.nih.gov article, “Do’s and Don’ts: Communicating With a Person Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease.”

#5: Personality and behavior changes

When a normally complacent senior suddenly becomes aggressive or a happy person becomes sad and withdrawn, it may be another of the signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease. As Alzheimer’s disease causes the loss of neurons in different areas of the brain, a wide variety of changes occur including those affecting personality and behavior.

As noted in the memory.ucsf.edu article, “Behavior & Personality Changes,” this can cause anger, frustration, depression, and anxiety and can prompt unusual behaviors such as rudeness, aggression, and impulsivity. Some of these symptoms can be minimized with medications, or by taking the steps described in the health.harvard.edu article, “Dementia: Coping with common, sometimes distressing behaviors.”

#6: Wandering

One of the most disturbing signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease is wandering, which the health.clevelandclinic.org article, “What To Do When Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease Wanders,”  defines as when a person gets lost outside their home. Wandering generally occurs in the moderate and advanced stages of the disease and can happen once or repeatedly. Among those who wander and are not located within 24 hours, half are found to be seriously injured or deceased.

When families need help for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, one of the best options is memory care. To learn more about Sinceri Senior Living’s memory care services, contact us for answers and to schedule a tour. Download our free guide, “Just the Facts: Memory Care” for more information about senior living memory care communities.June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to learn about and fight back against this devastating disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2024 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Infographic, right now, almost 7 million Americans are living with the disease and while deaths from heart disease have gone down by 2.1%, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased by 141%. Today, Alzheimer’s is responsible for the deaths of more
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common types of dementia and according to the Alzheimer’s Association article “Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” it now affects more than 7 million Americans. Although it is most prevalent in people older than 65, it can also strike people in their 30s and 40s. But knowing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease to look for is key to helping a loved one get treatment sooner, live better and possibly even slow progression of the disease.

6 signs of Alzheimer’s disease to look for

#1: Memory problems

One of the first signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. The tricky part is to discern the difference between memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and forgetfulness which is part of normal aging. According to the nia.nih.gov article, “Memory Problems, Forgetfulness, and Aging,” while it’s quite normal for older adults to forget things occasionally, consistently forgetting is a red flag.

For example, the article notes that there are several specific signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease including asking the same questions over and over, getting lost in familiar places, and forgetting about personal hygiene or eating. When any of these signs occur, the best step is to see a physician to determine if the problem is Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment or something else.

#2: Problems managing finances

When a senior loved one can’t manage simple household finances like paying bills, it’s another of the signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease. The healthline.com article, “A Caregiver’s Guide to Managing Finances for Alzheimer’s Disease,” also notes that excessive spending, impulsive purchases, losing wallets or credit/debit cards, problems understanding basic math, and giving away money or other possessions are also among the signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease.

#3: Problems with driving

Many seniors experience problems driving due to hearing and vision impairment, but there are other concerns with Alzheimer’s disease. Driving is a complex undertaking that requires remembering not only how to get somewhere, but all the rules of the road as well. According to the alz.org article, “Dementia and Driving,” other driving problems may be the failure to obey traffic signs and signals, driving too slow or too fast, mixing up the brake and gas pedals, anger and confusion while driving, and forgetting the destination. For help transitioning a loved one away from driving, the newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org article, “Alzheimer’s and dementia: When to stop driving,” offers excellent tips.

Download our free ebook, “Just the Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care”.

#4: Trouble communicating

Another of the signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease is trouble communicating. Although many seniors sometimes struggle to find the right word, when it happens more and more often it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the alz.org article “Communication and Alzheimer’s”, communication problems to watch for include repeating words, losing their train of thought often, problems using words correctly, describing rather than naming objects, and using gestures instead of words to communicate. As the disease progresses communication often becomes more difficult and frustrating for seniors and caregivers. To help ease the strain, check out the nia.nih.gov article, “Do’s and Don’ts: Communicating With a Person Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease.”

#5: Personality and behavior changes

When a normally complacent senior suddenly becomes aggressive or a happy person becomes sad and withdrawn, it may be another of the signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease. As Alzheimer’s disease causes the loss of neurons in different areas of the brain, a wide variety of changes occur including those affecting personality and behavior.

As noted in the memory.ucsf.edu article, “Behavior & Personality Changes,” this can cause anger, frustration, depression, and anxiety and can prompt unusual behaviors such as rudeness, aggression, and impulsivity. Some of these symptoms can be minimized with medications, or by taking the steps described in the health.harvard.edu article, “Dementia: Coping with common, sometimes distressing behaviors.”

#6: Wandering

One of the most disturbing signs to look for to spot Alzheimer’s disease is wandering, which the health.clevelandclinic.org article, “What To Do When Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease Wanders,”  defines as when a person gets lost outside their home. Wandering generally occurs in the moderate and advanced stages of the disease and can happen once or repeatedly. Among those who wander and are not located within 24 hours, half are found to be seriously injured or deceased.

When families need help for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, one of the best options is memory care. To learn more about Sinceri Senior Living’s memory care services, contact us for answers and to schedule a tour. Download our free guide, “Just the Facts: Memory Care” for more information about senior living memory care communities.download our memory care guide

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