What is dementia?

Dementia is the progressive deterioration in cognitive function - the ability to process thought. The symptoms will gradually worsen and the deterioration is due to damage or disease and not what is expected from normal aging.

Some Forms of Dementia:

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease:

Recent memory loss.

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's disease is memory loss. It's normal to occasionally forget appointments, colleagues' names or a friend's phone number and then remember them later. A person with Alzheimer's disease, however, may forget things more often and not remember them later especially things that have happened more recently.

Challenges in planning and solving problems.

From time to time, most people struggle with tasks that require abstract thinking or problem solving, such as keeping track of monthly bills or balancing a cheque book. Someone with Alzheimer's disease may have more significant difficulties with such tasks - for example, not understanding what the numbers in the cheque book mean. They also may have trouble following a familiar recipe.

What's normal?

Making occasional errors while balancing a checkbook.

Disorientation of time or place.

A temporary sense of disorientation is normal for most people. For instance, it's not unusual to forget the day of the week or your destination - for a moment. But an individual with Alzheimer's disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing how they got there or how to get home.

What's normal?

Not sure about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

Difficulty performing familiar tasks.

Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may forget to, serve a prepared side dish at a meal. Individuals with Alzheimer's, on the other hand, may have trouble with tasks that have been familiar to them all their lives, such as preparing a meal, driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules to a familiar game.

What's normal?

Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you plan to say.

Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.

For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize that they are the person in the mirror. Visual images and spatial relationships may also cause some difficulty. A person with Alzheimer's, for example, may have difficulty judging distance and determining colour and contrast.

What's normal?

Vision changes related to cataracts.

Difficulty with language.

People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems retrieving the right word or call things by the wrong name.

What's normal?

Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

Withdrawal from work or social activities.

A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from social activities, hobbies, work projects or teams. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby and often require cues and prompting to become involved again. They may also withdraw from being social because of the changes they have experienced.

What's normal?

Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

Misplacing items and losing the ability to retrace steps.

We all misplace items from time to time, especially keys and wallets. A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing.

What's normal?

Misplacing things from time to time, such as keys or the remote control.

Changes in mood and personality.

It is true that people's personalities can change with age. But an individual with Alzheimer's disease can exhibit marked changes such as becoming confused, depressed, suspicious or withdrawn. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places when they are out of their comfort zone.

What's normal?

Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

Decreased or poor judgment.

Undoubtedly, we all make poor judgments from time to time. People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large sums to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or wear heavy clothing on a hot day.

What's normal?

Making a bad choice once in a while.