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Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

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Warning Signs of Dementia - Topic Overview

Certain problems can be warning signs of dementia. Talk to a doctor if you, a friend, or a family member has been having increased difficulty with any of the following activities:

  • Learning and retaining new information (forgetting recent events and appointments or frequently misplacing objects)
  • Handling complex tasks, like balancing a checkbook
  • Knowing what to do when problems come up (such as knowing what to do if the bathroom is flooded) and using good judgment (for example, showing a new disregard for the rules of social conduct and doing or saying things that are inappropriate)
  • Finding his or her way around familiar places, driving to and from places he or she knows well (for example, getting lost when walking or driving from the house to the store a few blocks away)
  • Finding the right words to say what he or she wants to say
  • Understanding and responding to what he or she sees and hears
  • Acting more irritable or suspicious than usual, or withdrawing from conversation and activity

A person who has one or more of these warning signs may need to be evaluated by a doctor.

Recommended Related to Alzheimer's

What to Do After an Alzheimer's Diagnosis

Rosemary Orange, 53, of Ottawa, Ontario, suspected something was wrong with her 83-year-old mother, Sylvia. "She'd go shopping and forget what she was doing," Orange says. "So she'd come right back home without buying anything." Several months later, Orange's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, a type of dementia that affects nearly 36 million people worldwide. That rate is expected to nearly double in the next 20 years, according to the World Health Organization. What can you do if a parent...

Read the What to Do After an Alzheimer's Diagnosis article > >

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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