Understanding Alzheimer's Disease: What You Need to Know

What are the signs of Alzheimer's disease?

It’s important to know the signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If you know the signs, you can get help right away. Some signs of the disease are listed here:

Early signs

  • finding it hard to remember things
  • asking the same questions over and over
  • having trouble paying bills or solving simple math problems
  • getting lost
  • losing things or putting them in odd places

Later signs

  • forgetting how to brush your teeth or comb your hair
  • being confused about time, people, or places
  • forgetting the names of common things, such as a desk, house, or apple
  • wandering away from home

Mild cognitive impairment

Some older people have a condition called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. It can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. But, not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s disease. People with MCI can still take care of themselves and do their normal activities. MCI memory problems may include:

  • losing things often
  • forgetting to go to events or appointments
  • having more trouble coming up with words than other people the same age.

If you have MCI, it’s important to see your doctor or specialist every 6 to 12 months. Ask him or her to check for changes in your memory and thinking.

Use the chart below to help you understand the differences between Alzheimer's disease and normal signs of aging.

Differences between Alzheimer's disease and normal aging
Alzheimer’s disease Normal aging
Making poor judgments and decisions a lot of the time Making a bad decision once in a while
Problems taking care of monthly bills Missing a monthly payment
Losing track of the date or time of year Forgetting which day it is and remembering it later
Trouble having a conversation Sometimes forgetting which word to use
Misplacing things often and being unable to find them Losing things from time to time

Publication Date:
Page Last Updated: October 9, 2014