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10 Signs Your Loved One May Have Alzheimer’s

Written by Kristen Hicks
 about the author
3 minute readLast updated April 10, 2023

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly seven million older Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Many of them have not been formally diagnosed or are not aware of their diagnosis. When you think about it, it’s not all that surprising that people with Alzheimer’s may delay seeking answers. It’s important for family members to keep an eye out for potential signs of cognitive decline in their aging loved ones so they can get prompt medical attention.

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Why early detection of Alzheimer's is important

It may be tempting for you and your aging loved one to shrug off changes in their memory and behavior, but addressing them head on can have the following benefits.

Your loved one can start receiving treatment sooner.

While there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are medications and therapies that may help improve their symptoms.

You can better prepare for their care.

Families that delay seeking a diagnosis often find themselves not really knowing how to provide proper care, how to pay for it, or how to figure out what their loved one would want. An early diagnosis gives you the chance to talk all this over while your loved one is still capable of participating in discussions and planning.

You can better prepare yourself emotionally.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is hard. An early diagnosis won’t make it easier, but it will give you more time to educate yourself on what to expect, brace yourself emotionally for what’s to come, and learn how to appreciate the time you still have left together.

Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s to look for

Many seniors experience some mild age-related memory loss. However, the following symptoms may indicate that a more serious underlying condition might be to blame.

1. Regularly repeated questions

Does your loved one often ask you the same questions over and over again? Questions you just answered yesterday or even this morning?

2. Leaving little notes around the house

Has your loved one started relying on reminders or written instructions to complete tasks they used to do without thinking?

3. Difficulty with every day tasks

Does your loved one suddenly have trouble with tasks that used to be simple for them, like making dinner or paying the bills?

4. Trouble following storylines

Does your loved one get confused when someone tells a story or have a hard time following their favorite TV shows?

5. Misplacing things

Are they struggling to keep track of important personal items like their keys, wallet, or phone? Do items end up in strange places where they don’t belong, like jewelry in the refrigerator or food in the closet?

6. Getting lost often

Have they started inexplicably showing up late to things or getting lost on familiar routes?

7. Communication issues

Do they have a hard time remembering words or communicating basic concepts?

8. Difficulty focusing

Are they easily distracted? Do they struggle to finish one task before their focus drifts elsewhere?

9. Mood changes

Depression and anger are early signs of Alzheimer’s. Does your previously cheerful or patient loved one now get easily upset or mad?

10. Late-day confusion or agitation

Sundowner’s syndrome – getting more easily upset or confused in the evening – is a well documented symptom of Alzheimer’s. Does your loved one often exhibit moodiness or anger in the evening?

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Next steps

If you found yourself answering yes to one or more of the items on this list, encourage your loved one to make a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. Other treatable health issues, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), medication side effects, and depression, can cause some of these changes in mood, memory, and behavior. The possibility of a loved one having Alzheimer’s can be very scary, but it’s better to know and have the chance to respond appropriately than live in denial and hope for the best.


Meet the Author
Kristen Hicks

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