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10 early signs of Alzheimer’sMarch 14, 2016 Retirement
Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is vital to helping protect the financial future of those affected and their families.
March 14, 2016
Research shows declining financial skills are among the first symptoms to appear in people with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. More than 5 million Americans — including 1 in 9 people over age 65 — are living with Alzheimer’s and someone in the U.S. develops the disease every 67 seconds (source: The Alzheimer’s Association®).
The Alzheimer’s Association® has created a list of 10 warning signs of the disease. For many people, symptoms may appear as a change in presentation or mannerisms. Each person is different and will not necessarily display all the following symptoms commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These warning signs are not always a sign of Alzheimer’s; they could be the sign of a disease that is treatable. If you know a friend or family member experiencing any of the following, encourage that person to schedule an appointment with a doctor immediately:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
Examples include forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events, or repeatedly asking for the same information.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
Changes in their ability to follow a recipe or monitor monthly bills might be a problem for some people.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering rules to a favorite game.
- Confusion with time or place
Examples include: losing track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. People with Alzheimer’s may, at times, forget where they are or how they got there.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
A side effects for some people with Alzheimer’s may be having trouble reading, judging distance, and determining color or contrast, potentially causing problems with driving.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
Problems with communication could involve problems with following or joining conversations. People with Alzheimer’s may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue. They may also have trouble remembering words to identify objects (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock.”)
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
An example of this might be placing things in unusual places and not remembering where the individual had been before losing them.
- Decreased or poor judgment
Making extravagant purchases or giving large amounts of money to telemarketers could be a sign of decreased judgement. People with dementia may also pay less attention to personal hygiene.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
Having trouble following their favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a project associated with a favorite hobby may be a side effect for some people with Alzheimer’s.
- Changes in mood and personality
Mood changes can include confusion, depression, or the acts of being suspicious, fearful, or anxious. People with Alzheimer’s may also become easily upset at home, at work, or with friends.
Being a caregiver can be overwhelming, and the stress associated with this critical role can make it difficult to take action. Transamerica’s Caregiver’s Guide to Financial Planning in the Shadow of Dementia, written in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab, was created to help you feel confident when making decisions for, or with, a loved one living with dementia. Work with your financial advisor before taking final action.