Alzheleimer’s Disease Alzheleimer’s Disease
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Is It Just Old Age or Is It Alzheimer’s Disease?

How do you know if it is Alzheimer’s disease? As people get older it’s common for them to forget things. But at what point is misplacing your car keys considered old age or something worse? Old age can often result in memory loss, whereas Alzheimer’s disease can cause loss of cognition, which includes things like memory, understanding, communication, and reasoning.

Alzheimer’s Disease Symptoms. Here is a checklist of common symptoms to help recognize the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease:

Memory Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease

Forgetting recently learned information is one of the most common early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. A person begins to forget more often and is unable to recall the information later.

What’s Normal Aging? Forgetting names or appointments occasionally.

Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks Because It Could Be Alzheimer’s Disease

People with Alzheimer’s disease often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the steps needed to prepare a meal, place a telephone call, or play a game.

What’s Normal Aging? Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.

Problems with Language May Be a Sign of Alzheimer’s Disease

People with Alzheimer’s disease often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to understand. They may not be able to find the toothbrush, for example, and instead ask for "that thing for my mouth."

What’s Normal Aging? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

Disorientation to Time and Place Due to Alzheimer’s Disease

People with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost in their own neighborhoods, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.

What’s Normal Aging? Forgetting the day of the week or where you were going.

Poor or Decreased Judgment Due to Alzheimer’s Disease

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

What’s Normal Aging? Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time.

Problems with Abstract Thinking–Is It Alzheimer’s Disease?

Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are and how they should be used.

What’s Normal Aging? Finding it challenging to balance a checkbook.