Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc. – Support, Education and Research for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
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Warning Signs (Symptoms)

Alzheimer’s Disease Warning Signs

Every case of Alzheimer’s disease is different, but experts have identified common indicators of brain disease. Because treatments are more effective with early diagnosis, it is especially important to look for signs that might indicate Alzheimer’s disease versus basic forgetfulness.

Please review the following indicators, and if you or someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms, please consult a healthcare professional. The locally-staffed Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc. Helpline is prepared to offer you support, referrals, and care consultations.

Contact our East Tennessee Helpline at 865.544.6288 and our Cookeville Helpline at 931.526.8010. You can also call us statewide toll-free at 888.326.9888.

Typical warning signs include the following:

  • Memory loss especially when it comes to recent or important events, names, placement of objects, and other new information.
    • Versus sign of “normal aging”: Periodically and temporarily forget names, appointments, or where you left your keys.
  • Disorientation to time and place. Become lost on your own street or forget where you are, how you got there and how to return home. 
    • Versus sign of “normal aging”: Forget the day of the week or why you entered a room.
  • Struggle to complete familiar actions, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, preparing a meal, or placing a telephone call.
    • Versus sign of “normal aging”: Sometimes need assistance with an electronic device.
  • Trouble finding the appropriate words, completing sentences, and following directions and conversations. May repeat and call things by the wrong name. 
    • Versus sign of “normal aging”: Occasionally struggle to find the right word.
  • Poor judgment when making decisions, for example, wear several shirts on a warm day or give away large sums of money to solicitors.
    • Versus sign of “normal aging”: Make questionable or debatable decisions at times.
  • Changes in mood and personality, such as increased suspicion, rapid and persistent mood swings, withdrawal, and disinterest in usual activities.
    • Versus sign of “normal aging”: Feel fatigued by work and social obligations now and then or become irritable when a routine is disrupted.
  • Difficulty with complex mental assignments, such as balancing a checkbook or other tasks involving numbers or following directions. 
    • Versus sign of “normal aging”: Make a mistake when balancing a checkbook or leave an ingredient out of a recipe every now and then.