Recent Memory Loss That Affects Job Performance
It’s normal to occasionally forget assignments, colleagues’ names or a business associate’s telephone number, but generally remember them later. Those with a dementia like Alzheimer’s disease, may forget things more often, and not remember them later. They may repeatedly ask the same question, not remembering either the answer, or that they already asked the question.
Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks
Busy people can be distracted from time to time and leave the carrots on the stove, only remembering to serve them at the end of the meal. People with Alzheimer’s disease could prepare a meal, forget to serve it, and even forget they made it.
Problems with Language
Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but can finish the sentence with another appropriate word. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget simple words, or substitute inappropriate words, making their sentence incomprehensible.
Disorientation of Time and Place
It’s normal to forget the day of the week or your destination for a moment. But people with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost on their own street or in a familiar shopping mall, not knowing where they are, how they got there or how to get home.
Poor or Decreased Judgment
People can become so immersed in an activity or telephone conversation they temporarily forget the child they’re watching. A person with Alzheimer’s disease could entirely forget the child under their care and leave the house to visit a neighbor.
Problems with Abstract Thinking
People who normally balance their checkbooks may be momentarily disconcerted when the task is more complicated than usual, but will eventually figure out the solution. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease could forget completely what the numbers are and what needs to be done with them.
Anyone can misplace their wallet or keys, but eventually find them by reconstructing where they could have left them. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things down in inappropriate places — an iron in the freezer, or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl — and not be able to retrieve them.
Changes in Mood or Behavior
Everyone has a bad day once in a while, or may become sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease can exhibit rapid mood swings for no apparent reason: e.g. from calm to tears to anger to calm in a few minutes.
Changes in Personality
People’s personalities ordinarily change somewhat at different ages, as character traits strengthen or mellow. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can change drastically, becoming extremely irritable, suspicious or fearful.
Loss of Initiative
It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. The person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive and require cues and prompting to get them involved in activities.
These ten warning signs also may apply to dementias other than Alzheimer’s disease. People concerned about these warning signs should see a physician for a complete examination. The Is It Alzheimer’s? Ten Warning Signs campaign has been funded through an educational grant from Parke-Davis.
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Last updated: June 17, 1997
Please return to http://www.alz-nova.org or
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1997 – 2000 Alzheimer’s Association, Northern Virginia Chapter. All rights reserved.
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