10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Jill Moore on June 19, 2021
  • grandfather reading book to grandchild
    More Than Just a Senior Moment
    Which aisle stocks the peanut butter? Where is the project file? What's the name of that actor in the movie we saw last week? These are all questions that can unhinge our memory at times. A little memory blip is nothing to worry about. We all have them now and then. But some occurrences could signal a more serious memory problem. Although aging ups the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD), the condition isn't a normal part of aging. So how do you know what's normal behavior and what's not? Here are 10 red flags to watch out for.
  • group-of-senior-women-friends-hiking
    A Disruption of Daily Life
    You just met her but already can't recall her name. You know you made plans for Sunday but can't seem to remember what they are. It's normal to forget names and dates every now and then. But regularly forgetting these and other, more important details could signal a problem. Forgetting recently learned information is common for people with AD.
  • disoriented African American senior male with head in hands
    People with AD may be puzzled by time and place. They might confuse the past and present or lose track of time or dates. They may become lost in their own neighborhood, forgetting where they are and how they got there.
  • Woman talking to doctor
    A Snag in Speech
    You've probably had a word on the tip of your tongue but couldn't come up with it. People with AD also may have trouble finding the right word but might halt a conversation completely and not know how to carry on, or may repeat themselves. They might invent words or stop talking altogether to prevent slipups.
  • Man with large pile of bills
    Problems Solving Problems
    Trouble understanding numbers or following steps is another sign of AD. This can make it difficult to concentrate, pay the bills, do simple math, or even follow a family recipe the person has known for years.
  • Symptom: Confusion or Slurred Speech
    Losing Things
    Where'd I put my keys? You've likely asked yourself the same question before. But for people with AD, it can be difficult to remember where things are or to retrace steps to find lost items. What's more, Alzheimer's can cause people to misplace items by putting them in illogical places, like a placing a toothbrush in the refrigerator.
  • Who Gets Dupuytren's
    Trouble With Tasks
    Everyday tasks that were once easy to do may become big challenges. Even daily grooming, dressing oneself, and eating can be a struggle.
  • Dizzy senior woman
    Poor Decision-Making
    Making consistent or frequent bad decisions or not making decisions at all could signal AD. Bad judgment with money—like giving money to strangers—could be another warning.
  • serious woman
    Loss of Initiative
    Lost energy, motivation, or spark for life is another indication of AD. The person may not participate in usual activities like sports, hobbies, or even work. He or she may become socially withdrawn.
  • all-this-stress-is-giving-me-a-migraine
    Resisting Change
    We all may be set in our own ways at times, but a person with AD may be unwelcome to changes in routine or uncomfortable with new people or places.
  • senior man on bench
    Significant Swings in Mood or Personality
    AD patients may change from calm to sadness to anger quickly and for no apparent reason. They may become extremely confused, suspicious, or fearful.
  • man with doctor, doctor, man, examination, consultation, evaluation
    Early Detection Matters
    Many other neurologic conditions can mimic the problems encountered with AD, and many are treatable. Tell your doctor if you are experiencing challenges with everyday activities. ​Recognizing the warning signs of Alzheimer's early allows extra time to plan for necessary treatment and care.
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease

About The Author

  1. Alzheimer's Association. 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease. https://www.alz.org/10-signs-symptoms-alzheimers-dementia.asp

  2. National Institute on Aging. What Are the Signs of Alzheimer's Disease? https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-signs-alzheimers-disease
Was this helpful?
Last Review Date: 2021 Jun 19
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.