drOPsite Login                                                                 Healthcare Professional Registration

You are here

Identifying Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a complex condition driven by gene-environment interactions which leads to the loss or impairment of mental functions such as memory, thinking and reasoning.[1] Here are five early warning signs and symptoms a person may experience. Knowing what to look for can help you get your loved ones the care they need.

Behavioral Changes

Any mood, personality or behavioral change as people age can be concerning. People with Alzheimer's can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may also be easily upset when they are out of their comfort zone.

Vision, Coordination & Mobility Changes

Some people with early Alzheimer’s will have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving. A correlation between frequent falls and the early onset of Alzheimer ’s disease has also been found. As the disease progresses,  it can affect a person’s coordination and mobility to the point of interfering with their ability to perform day-to-day tasks.

Problems with Words

An early sign of Alzheimer’s disease is when people have trouble following or joining a conversation. These people may also have a challenge with recognizing sarcasm in face-to-face interactions. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name. These things happen to everyone once in a while, but if it starts happening regularly then you should take it as a warning sign.

Decreased or Poor Judgment

People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. They may dress completely inappropriately for the weather. Maybe they make a scene in a public setting without realizing that they were making a scene, or they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts away to people such as telemarketers.

Memory loss and Confusion

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. People with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may also put things in unusual places or lose things and be unable to retrace their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing.

If you notice these signs in your loved ones, then talk to your trusted healthcare provider about testing options available for early diagnosis and prevention.



1. Van Ommen GJB. The human genome project and the future of diagnostics, treatment and prevention. Lancet. 1999;354:5-10.