A person may experience early signs of Alzheimer’s disease for many years, even decades, before receiving an official diagnosis. Often, older adults and their loved ones may overlook or deny the signs of dementia and assume they are simply a normal part of aging. Adults who live alone may find it easier to hide the signs from their friends and relatives. Married couples, though, may also “cover” for each other because of the fear of being separated.
Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease are subtle, including:
- Misplacing items
- Getting lost while driving
- Missing payments
- Forgetting names
- Repeating questions and stories
It is important to compare the current situation to previous performance. For example, if a person always had a poor sense of direction, it may be entirely normal for him or her to get lost easily and rely heavily on GPS devices. For someone that used to navigate new areas easily, however, getting lost and relying on GPS devices may be a sign of Alzheimer’s.
More Answers from Zaldy S. Tan, MD