Ten Warning Signs of Dementia

As more brain researchers are finding that subjective cognitive complaints may be the earliest sign of Alzheimer’s disease, how can you tell the difference between normal age-related memory problems and early Alzheimer’s? The following 10 warning signs from the Alzheimer’s Association will help you differentiate the two.

1. Significant memory changes

Forgetting important dates, events or appointments and repeatedly asking for the same information. If you are aging normally, you may sometimes forget names and doctor appointments, but not important events. Once you are reminded, you will continue to remember them.

2. Difficulty solving problems or making plans

Difficulty doing things that were once easy such as keeping track of bills, working with numbers or following a recipe. When you age normally, you may occasionally make mistakes on these tasks but not routinely.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks 

Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work and play. Inability to complete normal daily tasks, trouble driving a car to and from a familiar location or difficulty remembering the rules of a favorite game. An age-related issue would be needing help to work an HD television or change settings on a microwave.

4. Confusion with time or place

Losing track of the passage of time, forgetting day and year or not knowing how one arrived at a destination. With age-related changes, a person can be slightly confused about the day of the week but will figure it out when given clues and then retain it.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

Difficulty with judging distance, reading and determining color or contrast. Vision troubles may be a sign of Alzheimer’s for some people. Recognizing familiar places or people, not just family or friends but even famous people, may become challenging. Blurred vision or changes in eyeglass prescription are typical age-related changes.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.

Increasing trouble joining a conversation, calling things by the wrong name or repeating oneself. Occasional trouble finding the right word is a normal age-related issue.

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

Putting things in unusual places, losing things and being unable to find them or accusing people of stealing. Misplacing things from time to time but being able to retrace steps to find them is not an uncommon age-related issue.

8. Decreased or poor judgment

Difficulty dealing with money or giving money away, often to strangers, when this is not a lifelong behavior. Making a bad decision once in a while is a normal age-related problem.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

Becoming weary of work, family and social obligations: trouble remembering how to complete a favorite hobby or how to keep up with a favorite sports team. People with normal age-related complaints will sometimes complain of work, family and social obligations but their activity level does not dramatically decrease.

10. Changes in mood and personality

Becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. A normal age-related change entails doing things a certain way and becoming irritable when the routine is disrupted.

Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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