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About Alzheimer's

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home » about alzheimer's » 10 warning signs  

10 Warning Signs

Is it Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative disease of the brain. Its causes are unknown, and there currently is no cure. The Alzheimer's Association has developed a checklist of common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. These symptoms may also apply to other illnesses. If you review the following list and find several areas of concern, you should make an appointment with a physician for a complete examination of the individual with the symptoms.

  1. Recent Memory Loss Affects Job Skills
    It's normal to occasionally forget assignments, colleagues' names or a business associate's telephone number, and remember them later. Those with dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, may forget things more often, and not remember them later. They repeatedly may ask the same question, not remembering the answer.

  2. Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks
    Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them at the end of the meal. People with Alzheimer's disease could prepare a meal and not only forget to serve it, but also forget they made it.

  3. Problems With Language
    Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but can finish the sentence with another appropriate word. A person with Alzheimer's disease may forget simple words, or substitute inappropriate words, making their sentence incomprehensible.

  4. Disorientation Of Time And Place
    It's normal to forget the day of the week or your destination for a moment. But people with Alzheimer's disease can become lost on their own street or in a familiar shopping mall, not knowing where they are, how they got there or how to get back home.

  5. Poor Or Decreased Judgement
    People can become so immersed in an activity or telephone conversation they temporarily forget the child they're watching. A person with Alzheimer's disease could forget entirely the child under their care and leave the house to visit a neighbor. They may dress inappropriately, wearing several shirts or blouses.

  6. Problems With Abstract Thinking
    People who normally balance their checkbooks may be momentarily disconcerted when the task is more complicated than usual, but will eventually figure out the solution. 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 misplace their wallet or keys, but eventually find them by reconstructing where they could have left them. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer, or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

  8. Changes In Mood Or Behavior
    Everyone has a bad day once in a while, or may become sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer's disease can exhibit rapid mood swings for no apparent reason: e.g., from calm to tears to anger to calm in a few moments.

  9. Changes In Personality
    People's personalities ordinarily change somewhat at different ages, as character traits strengthen or mellow. But a person with Alzheimer's disease can change drastically, becoming extremely confused, irritable, suspicious or fearful.

  10. Loss of Initiative
    It's normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. The person with Alzheimer's disease may become passive and require cues and prompting to get them involved in activities.


Upcoming Events


March 30 - The Role of Activities in Cultural Change
This workshop discusses the philosophy behind activities and offers numerous examples of ways to incorporate these activities in day to day life. 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Hospital. Call 913-831-3888 or for details.


April 5 - April 26: Redefining Me in Topeka, KS
A 4-part discussion about the process of diagnosis, risk factors, symptoms revealed in the disease and current treatments. Call 785-271-1844 or for details.


April 14 - Alzheimer's and Aging with Intellectual Disabilities
An overview of how Alzheimer's manifests in persons experiencing intellectual disabilities such as Down's Syndrome. Call 785-271-1844 or for details.