11 early signs of Alzheimer’s

11 early signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia, which impairs brain function and can cause memory loss, confusion and difficulty finding the right words for things.

Sometimes Alzheimer’s can be confused as dementia, but they are not the same. Alzheimer’s is a progressive form of dementia, which has its own distinct symptoms. It is also the most common form of dementia. Research suggests 7 out of 10 people with dementia have Alzheimer’s disease [1].

Every case is different, but there are 11 early signs of Alzheimer’s disease you can look out for and seek early treatment in the hope of slowing the progression.

1.     Memory loss

Loss of memory can be one of the first major signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It may be subtle, like forgetting where something was placed or losing everyday items regularly, such as keys; or it could be more pronounced by forgetting key events or people.

2.     Difficulty problem solving

This dementia symptom is quite broad and can be seen in a number of different settings, including trouble following a recipe or forgetfulness when it comes to paying bills.

People with Alzheimer’s may also have difficulty concentrating and can take longer to complete familiar tasks than they did before.

3.     Confusion with time and place

Alongside memory loss, confusion is also a common symptom of Alzheimer’s. As cognitive function declines, people can often become confused knowing what day or month it is.

If someone you know is struggling with this, you could consider purchasing a dementia clock to help. [The Best Dementia Clocks in Australia | Buy Online | Best Price – Senior Style]

4.     Misplacing items

This is often coupled with the symptom of memory loss. People with early stages of Alzheimer’s may forget where they have put their keys or other important items. Sometimes they may put something away in a particular place and then be unable to remember where it is a short time later.

5.     Challenges completing familiar tasks

People with Alzheimer’s can sometimes have trouble with familiar tasks such as driving to a regularly visited location or remembering the process of a hobby such as sewing or, knitting. This can also be seen in forgetting the rules of a familiar game or sport and is another sign of cognitive impairment.

6.     Language problems

Difficulty finding the right words is another dementia symptom. This can present in a number of ways, including stopping mid-sentence not knowing how to continue, or struggling to find the right word to explain something.

Sometimes speaking to someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging, and it may take longer for them to express their thoughts.

7.     Poor judgement

Regularly, people with Alzheimer’s can lose the ability to make informed decisions. This can mean they don’t make safe decisions in dangerous situations, like crossing the road.

Another way this symptom presents in is poor judgement around financial management. If a person has been careful with their finances in the past but begins to make questionable decisions later in life, it could be a sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

8.     Withdrawal from social activities

Someone with dementia may lose interest in their previous hobbies. Things that used to bring them joy no longer appeal to them. This can also be true of spending time with family and friends, with many people with Alzheimer’s reluctant to socialise like they once did.

9.     Mood and personality changes

Mood changes are also common dementia symptoms. This might be one of the first changes you notice in someone you love, but it is likely one of the last symptoms noticed, if at all, by the person with Alzheimer’s.

Depression is common in the early stages of dementia [2]. This can mean someone with Alzheimer’s can seem anxious or upset more than usual, especially if they feel something is changing in their life. Some people with Alzheimer’s also display a change in personality. This can show in many ways including more or less outgoing, and more or less irritable.

10.     Difficulty understanding visual images

Changes in vision is common as we age, but it can also be a symptom of dementia and Alzheimer’s. It can sometimes be more pronounced and may result in problems seeing colour and contrast, as well as distance when driving. [3]

11.     Repetitive behaviours

Repetitive behaviours can include a range of things but is usually of daily tasks such as shaving or showering, or a particular physical movement like rubbing their hands together.

Sometimes it can be displayed by the repetition of the same questions or repeating the same story or conversation more than once.

How can Focused Health Care help?

We understand a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia can be overwhelming. If you are supporting a family member through this process, the fear of the unknown is common.

Our team of qualified and friendly nurses and support staff understand what you are going through. We have helped countless families with support in their home and in the community, and we want to help your family, too.

Contact us today to see how we can help.

*All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.


[1] Alzheimer’s disease – symptoms, causes, diagnosis and prevention | healthdirect 10 March 2024

[2] Depression and dementia | Dementia Australia 10 March 2024

[3] 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s & Dementia | alz.org 10 March 2024

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