Can You Detect Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a slowly progressive brain disease that begins before symptoms are apparent. Early symptoms include short-term memory loss, apathy, and depression. As the disease progresses, other symptoms can appear suchas impaired communication, poor judgment, disorientation and confusion, behavior changes, and difficulty with swallowing, speaking or walking.

Many doctors believe that treatments for Alzheimer’s can be more effective if begun in the early stages of the disease. Researchers are exploring different methods of testing to predict risk, and can make early diagnoses since many believe Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain begin years before the disease becomes apparent.

They are exploring three main approaches to early diagnosis, including brain imaging, standardized clinical tests of cognitive abilities, and measurements of biomarkers in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

What if you suspect someone you love has Alzheimer’s disease? Look for these symptoms.

Memory Loss

It’s normal for older adults to sometimes forget names or appointments. However, if your loved one is struggling with memory loss that is disrupting daily life, particularly forgetting newly acquired information, then there may be a bigger problem. Forgetting important dates or events, asking the same questions repeatedly, or becoming dependent on memory aids such as reminder notes or electronic devices could indicate a problem that needs to be discussed with a doctor.


Adults with Alzheimer’s disease can become easily confused, losing track of days or even years. They may have trouble understanding something if it’s not happening in the present moment, and they may forget where they are or how they even got there.


Many of us misplace things occasionally, but adults with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in odd places and may forget where they left them. They may be unable to mentally retrace their steps to locate lost items, and even accuse others of stealing if they are unable to recall where they left something.

Poor Judgment

It’s normal for people to make bad decisions now and then; however, people with Alzheimer’s may experience more profound changes in their decision-making skills. They may show an increased tendency to make poor judgments with personal finances, such as giving large sums to telemarketers or increased spending on late-night infomercials.


People with Alzheimer’s can be more likely to try to isolate themselves, withdrawing from hobbies, social activities or work obligations. If they’re having trouble remembering how to do a favorite hobby or losing track of their favorite sports team, they may be more likely to feign distaste in formerly favorite pastimes. It’s normal for older adults to feel tired or weary of work, family or social obligations; however, it’s worth checking out if your loved one is making a habit of withdrawing from favorite activities.

Changes in Mood

Many older adults become set in their ways and can become irritable when their routine is disrupted. However, adults with Alzheimer’s disease can experience more extreme changes in mood or personality. They may become depressed, fearful, anxious, angry or suspicious. They may also become easily upset or frustrated if they’re feeling confused or out of their comfort zone.

Difficulty Solving Simple Math Problems

Some adults with Alzheimer’s disease may begin having difficulty working with numbers, particularly in their ability to concentrate to solve simple math problems. They may have trouble keeping track of their monthly bills or following a favorite recipe. They may also be unable to solve simple mathematical problems in their head, requiring them to write them down or use a calculator for simple sums. It’s normal to make occasional errors when balancing a checkbook or doing mental math, but a check-up may be needed if your loved one is suddenly unable to do simple math problems without assistance.

Difficulty Completing Routine Tasks

People with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble completing routine tasks, such as driving to a familiar location, or they may forget to manage their daily grooming habits.

Trouble Speaking or Writing

While it’s normal for older adults to have difficulty finding the right word in conversation, many adults with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble following conversations. Sometimes they may even stop in the middle of a conversation, forgetting what they wanted to say or repeating themselves. They may call things by the wrong name or struggle with vocabulary. They may also have difficulty concentrating or figuring out what words to use when writing.

If you notice any of these Alzheimer’s disease warning signs, don’t ignore them. Early is critical for the maximum benefit of available treatment options, prolonging your loved one’s independence, as well as allowing them more time to participate in decisions about treatment, care, and living options.

If you believe your loved one has Alzheimer’s, seek medical advice from a professional. Then, contact us to see how we can help.