Forgetfullness is the most common symptom of Alzheimer's disease. However, sometimes it is difficult to differentiate from normal age related memory problems. The early signs and symptoms are as follows:
Memory loss disrupting daily life:
One of the most common sign and symptom is memory loss that disrupts ability to carry out daily routine life. Recently learned information is more likely to get affected. So, person remembers even childhood memories but forgets what he/she has eaten in morning or forgets about recent personal events or dates. This forgetting do not affect daily routine life of person.
Difficulty in planning or solving day to day problems:
Changes in ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. When we think of doing something for example while changing clothes in morning, our brain tend to form a subconscious plan to carry out that task , but brain of persons with Alzheimer's is not able to make such subconscious plans properly. Therefore, person finds it difficult to solve day to day problems even. For example, someone's grandmother used to be a good cook but now she cant follow her own recipe or grandfather used to calculate all household expenses but now he is not able to do and makes many errors.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks:
Persons with Alzheimer's disease find it difficult to complete familiar tasks like not able to drive to familiar location(grandfather used to bring children from school but now not able to navigate to school and back home while driving), or difficulty remembering the rules of their favorite game they used to play with grandchildren few months back.
Confusion with time and place:
People living with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time.
When it is age related change: Occasionally forgetting the date or day but remembering later on.
New problem with words while speaking or writing:
People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation.
Misplacing things and losing ability to retrace steps:
Persons with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. For example: if someone loses his car keys, he will think that I went to my friend's place, I must have kept there and will look for key in that way. But person's with Alzheimer's lose this ability of retracing steps and he or she may even accuse others of stealing, especially as the disease progresses.
Decreased or poor judgement:
Individuals living with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgement or decision-making.
When it is age related change?
Poor judgement or decision making once in a while like neglecting oil change in old car.
Changes in mood and personality:
Individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia may experience mood and personality changes.
When it is a typical age-related change?
Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted