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Memory Impairment and Alzheimer's Disease
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The Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer's disease

The following are warning signs of Alzheimer's disease:

1. Memory loss
One of the most common early signs of dementia is forgetting recently learned information. While it's normal to forget appointments, names, or telephone numbers, those with dementia will forget such things more often and not remember them later.

2. Difficult performing familiar tasks
People with dementia often find it hard to complete everyday tasks that are so familiar we do not think about how to do them. A person with Alzheimer's may not know the steps for preparing a meal, using a household applicance, or participating in a lifelong hobby.

3. Problems with language
Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer's disease often forgets simple words or substitutes unusual words, making his or her speech or writing hard to understand. If a person with Alzheimer's is unable to find his or her toothbrush, for example, the indvidiual may ask for "that thing for my mouth."

4. Disorientation to time and place
It's normal to forget the day of the week or where you're going. But people with Alzheimer's disease can become lost on their own street, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.

5. Poor or decreased judgment
No one has perfect judgement all of the time. Those with Alzheimer's may dress without regard to the weather, wearing several shirts or blouses on a warm day or very little clothing in cold weather. Individuals with dementia often show poor judgment about money, giving away large amounts of money to telemarketers or paying for home repairs or products they don't need.

6. Problems with abstract thinking
Balancing a checkbook may be hard when the task is more complicated than usual. Someone with Alzheimer's disease could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.

7. Misplacing things
Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or key. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer, a wristwatch in the sugar bowl, or a sandwich under the sofa.

8. Changes in mood or behavior
Everyone can become sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer's disease can show rapid mood swings-from calm to tears to anger-for no apparent reason.

9. Changes in personality
People's personalities ordinarily change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer's disease can change a lot, becoming extremely confused, suspicious, fearful, or dependant on a family member.

10. Loss of initiative
It's normal to tire of housework, business activities, or social obligations at times. Ther person with Alzheimer's disease may become very passive, siting in front of the television for hours, sleeping more than usual, or not wanting to do usual activities.

Source: Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association, Inc.

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