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Hi everyone. Lately, as I have discussed my Mom's situation, 3 times someone has mentioned Alzheimers and how some of her issues resemble those early stages.
Can someone give me a basic rundown of what the early symptoms of Alzheimers might be?
It had definitely not occurred to me.

As always, I am grateful for all of you.

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My MIL has early-onset dementia and here are some links you might find helpful.

10 warning signs of Alzheimer's:

1. Memory loss. Forgetting recently learned information is one of the most common early signs of dementia. A person begins to forget more often and is unable to recall the information later.

What's normal? Forgetting names or appointments occasionally.

2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. People with dementia often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a telephone call or playing a game.

What's normal? Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.

3. Problems with language. People with Alzheimer�s disease often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to understand. They may be unable to find the toothbrush, for example, and instead ask for "that thing for my mouth.�

What's normal? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

4. Disorientation to time and place. People with Alzheimer�s disease can become lost in their own neighborhood, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.

What's normal? Forgetting the day of the week or where you were going.

5. Poor or decreased judgment. Those with Alzheimer�s may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing in the cold. They may show poor judgment, like giving away large sums of money to telemarketers.

What's normal? Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time.

6. Problems with abstract thinking. Someone with Alzheimer�s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are for and how they should be used.

What's normal? Finding it challenging to balance a checkbook.

7. Misplacing things. A person with Alzheimer�s disease may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

What's normal? Misplacing keys or a wallet temporarily.

8. Changes in mood or behavior. Someone with Alzheimer�s disease may show rapid mood swings � from calm to tears to anger � for no apparent reason.

What's normal? Occasionally feeling sad or moody.

9. Changes in personality. The personalities of people with dementia can change dramatically. They may become extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent on a family member.

What's normal? People�s personalities do change somewhat with age.

10. Loss of initiative. A person with Alzheimer�s disease may become very passive, sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleeping more than usual or not wanting to do usual activities.

What's normal? Sometimes feeling weary of work or social obligations.

If you recognize any warning signs in yourself or a loved one, the Alzheimer�s Association recommends consulting a doctor. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer�s disease or other disorders causing dementia is an important step to getting appropriate treatment, care and support services.

Everyone forgets a name or misplaces keys occasionally. Many healthy people are less able to remember certain kinds of information as they get older.

The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are much more severe than simple memory lapses. If you or someone you know is experiencing Alzheimer symptoms, consult a doctor.


Stage 1:

No impairment (normal function)

Unimpaired individuals experience no memory problems and none are evident to a health care professional during a medical interview.

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Stage 2:

Very mild cognitive decline (may be normal age-related changes or earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease)

Individuals may feel as if they have memory lapses, especially in forgetting familiar words or names or the location of keys, eyeglasses or other everyday objects. But these problems are not evident during a medical examination or apparent to friends, family or co-workers.

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Stage 3:

Mild cognitive decline
Early-stage Alzheimer's can be diagnosed in some, but not all, individuals with these symptoms

Friends, family or co-workers begin to notice deficiencies. Problems with memory or concentration may be measurable in clinical testing or discernible during a detailed medical interview. Common difficulties include:


Word- or name-finding problems noticeable to family or close associates

Decreased ability to remember names when introduced to new people

Performance issues in social or work settings noticeable to family, friends or co-workers

Reading a passage and retaining little material

Losing or misplacing a valuable object

Decline in ability to plan or organize

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Stage 4:

Moderate cognitive decline
(Mild or early-stage Alzheimer's disease)

At this stage, a careful medical interview detects clear-cut deficiencies in the following areas:


Decreased knowledge of recent occasions or current events

Impaired ability to perform challenging mental arithmetic-for example, to count backward from 100 by 7s

Decreased capacity to perform complex tasks, such as marketing, planning dinner for guests or paying bills and managing finances

Reduced memory of personal history

The affected individual may seem subdued and withdrawn, especially in socially or mentally challenging situations

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Stage 5:

Moderately severe cognitive decline
(Moderate or mid-stage Alzheimer's disease)

Major gaps in memory and deficits in cognitive function emerge. Some assistance with day-to-day activities becomes essential. At this stage, individuals may:


Be unable during a medical interview to recall such important details as their current address, their telephone number or the name of the college or high school from which they graduated

Become confused about where they are or about the date, day of the week, or season

Have trouble with less challenging mental arithmetic; for example, counting backward from 40 by 4s or from 20 by 2s

Need help choosing proper clothing for the season or the occasion

Usually retain substantial knowledge about themselves and know their own name and the names of their spouse or children

Usually require no assistance with eating or using the toilet

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Stage 6:

Severe cognitive decline
(Moderately severe or mid-stage Alzheimer's disease)

Memory difficulties continue to worsen, significant personality changes may emerge and affected individuals need extensive help with customary daily activities. At this stage, individuals may:


Lose most awareness of recent experiences and events as well as of their surroundings

Recollect their personal history imperfectly, although they generally recall their own name

Occasionally forget the name of their spouse or primary caregiver but generally can distinguish familiar from unfamiliar faces

Need help getting dressed properly; without supervision, may make such errors as putting pajamas over daytime clothes or shoes on wrong feet

Experience disruption of their normal sleep/waking cycle

Need help with handling details of toileting (flushing toilet, wiping and disposing of tissue properly)

Have increasing episodes of urinary or fecal incontinence

Experience significant personality changes and behavioral symptoms, including suspiciousness and delusions (for example, believing that their caregiver is an impostor); hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there); or compulsive, repetitive behaviors such as hand-wringing or tissue shredding

Tend to wander and become lost

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Stage 7:

Very severe cognitive decline
(Severe or late-stage Alzheimer's disease)

This is the final stage of the disease when individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, the ability to speak and, ultimately, the ability to control movement.


Frequently individuals lose their capacity for recognizable speech, although words or phrases may occasionally be uttered

Individuals need help with eating and toileting and there is general incontinence of urine

Individuals lose the ability to walk without assistance, then the ability to sit without support, the ability to smile, and the ability to hold their head up. Reflexes become abnormal and muscles grow rigid. Swallowing is impaired.

I hope this helps.

Dear Tane,
After reading through the information Kat supplied, if you suspect your mom may have Alzheimer's or some form of dementia, you might want her to be evaluated and diagnosed. Please note that a confirmed diagnosis can only be made at autopsy, but a trained physician can tell you if it is "probable" Alzheimer's. This can be done by ruling out other illnesses/diseases. Also, a neuropsychiatrist can do an evaluation on your mom. We had both of these done for my mom. Some people may feel it's not important to get a confirmed diagnosis of "probable" Alzheimer's. What is important is if it is NOT Alzheimer's and she has dementia being caused by something else, proper work up and care could stop the on-going process.
Warm regards,

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