1. Memory loss that affects day-to-day abilities: It’s normal to occasionally forget appointments, colleagues’ names or a friend’s phone number and remember them later. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget things more often or have difficulty recalling information that has recently been learned.
2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks: Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may forget to serve part of a meal and only remember later. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble completing tasks that have been familiar to them all their lives, such as meal preparation or playing a game.
3. Problems with language: Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget simple words or substitute words, making sentences difficult to understand.
4. Disorientation in time and space: It’s normal to forget the day of the week or your destination - for a moment. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing how they got there or how to get home.
5. Poor or decreased judgment: From time to time, people can make questionable decisions such as putting off seeing a doctor when they have an infection. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may have poor or decreased judgment, for example not recognizing a medical problem that needs attention or wearing heavy clothing on a hot day.
6. Problems with abstract thinking: From time to time, people may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, such as balancing a cheque book. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have significant difficulties with such tasks, for example not understanding what numbers are and how they are used.
7. Misplacing things: Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
8. Changes in mood and behaviour: Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease can exhibit varied mood swings - from calm to tears to anger - for no apparent reason.
9. Changes in personality: People's personailties can change in sublte ways over time. A person with Alzheimer's disease may experience more striking personaility changes and can become confused, suspicious or withfrawn. Changes may also include apathy, fearfulness or acting out of character.
10. Loss of initiative: It's normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. A person with Alzheimer's disease may become very passive, and require cues and prompting to become involved.