1. Memory ProblemsPeople with Alzheimer's disease will show early signs of memory problems, especially difficulty remembering recently learned information. While it's normal to occasionally forget phone numbers or appointments, those with Alzheimer's will gradually forget more and more and become less able to recall information later.
2. Language/Communication Difficulties
3. Lapses in JudgmentThose showing early signs of Alzheimer's may start making unwise personal, social, or financial decisions. For example, the person might wear a heavy coat during the summer or make sexual advances toward a waiter or waitress. While it's normal to occasionally make questionable choices, someone with Alzheimer's may display more serioius lapses in judgment that are uncharacteristic for them.
4. Problems Completing Familiar Tasks
5. DisorientationPeople with Alzheimer's often become disoriented with their time and place. For instance, they may be confused about the current time, day, date, month, season, and/or year. They may also be confused about where they are in regard to address, city, state, or country. While it's normal to temporarily forget where one is headed or what day of the week it is, those with Alzheimer's might become lost on the way to the grocery store and be unable to make it back home.
6. Decreased Ability to Think Abstractly
7. Misplacing ObjectsA common early indicator of Alzheimer's is losing possessions and not being able to find them again, usually because the object was put in an odd place. For instance, a person with Alzheimer's might lose a hair dryer because he put it in the washing machine and doesn't remember doing so. While it's normal to occasionally misplace a set of keys or a wallet, only to find them later in a logical place, a person with Alzheimer's often won't be able to find the item again.
8. Changes in Mood and/or Behavior
9. Shifts in PersonalityIn addition to becoming moody, individuals with Alzheimer's will sometimes show changes in personality. For instance, someone who had always been very independent and confident might become overly dependent and suspicious. While it's normal to occasionally not feel like ourselves, this feeling is usually temporary and doesn't change our general behavior or the way we relate to others.
10. Apathy/Loss of Initiative
About Alzheimer's: Warning signs. Alzheimer's Foundation of America. 2008. http://www.alzfdn.org/AboutAlzheimers/warningsigns.html
Ten warning signs of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's Association. 2005. http://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure_10warnsigns.pdf