While Alzheimer’s disease will commonly manifest itself first as a problem with the formation of new memories, other symptoms will gradually develop and worsen.
The classic distinction between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease is one of the very earliest symptoms: Difficulty in forming new memories and/or short-term memory loss. While Alzheimer’s disease will commonly manifest itself first as a problem with the formation of new memories, other symptoms will gradually develop and worsen. Additionally, the symptoms and effects of Alzheimer’s disease are different with every person.
Early signs may include:
—Confusion with time and familiar places
—Difficulty with problem-solving
—Impaired reasoning or judgment
—Difficulty with forming and understanding words
—Placing objects in unusual places
—Inability to perform daily tasks
As the disease progresses, additional symptoms may appear:
—Increasing loss of memory
—Loss of reading and writing skills
—Difficulty with complex motor tasks
—Loss of previously intact long-term memories
It is also common at this stage to experience changes in behavior and personality. Many with Alzheimer’s disease experience a symptom known as sundowning—increased confusion and unrest in the evening hours.
In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, a patient will have severely reduced language capabilities, acute memory loss, and limited mobility. Behavioral changes increase, commonly manifested as apathy and inactivity. Those with late-stage Alzheimer’s will become bedridden, and completely reliant on caregivers.