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Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

  • Forgetfulness and memory loss
  • Communication problems (cannot remember names of objects, people, places)
  • Slurred speech and difficulty swallowing
  • Disorientation (unsure of the date or time)
  • Problems with reading, writing, organizing, and following directions
  • Depression, mood swings, hallucinations, and paranoia
  • Personality and behavior changes
  • Impaired judgment
  • Sleep problems and wandering (easily lost in familiar places)
  • Bowel, bladder, and personal hygiene problems
  • Muscle spasms
  • Unable to move or moving slowly

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease affect activities of daily living (such as cooking, washing dishes, and driving), behavior, and thinking.

There are three stages of Alzheimer’s disease: mild, moderate, and severe. In the mild stage, symptoms start with short term memory loss (the person with Alzheimer’s disease can remember events that happened many years ago, but cannot remember what happened a day or a few hours ago). The person in the mild stage of Alzheimer’s may be aware of these issues and try to correct them.

During the moderate state, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease get progressively worse over time. As the disease progresses, memory loss becomes worse and the person with Alzheimer’s disease has problems thinking clearly, managing their finances, and making good judgments. Speech, walking, and other problems also begin.

In the severe stage, a person with Alzheimer’s disease can no longer care for themselves and become bed bound.  They may have problems swallowing, are unable to control their bowels and bladder, have total memory loss, and additional problems.

Additional resources that provide more information on the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: