It can be hard to talk about scary subjects. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are scary conditions that no one ever wants to have to talk about. No one wants to think about themselves or loved ones in any state of cognitive decline.

Yet, the reality is, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is on the rise.

Have you talked to your friends or family about dementia or memory loss? What about your healthcare provider? Almost 90% of Americans say that if they were confused or experiencing memory loss, they would want to know if the symptoms were caused by Alzhemeir’s disease. Yet, only about half of aging adults talk with their healthcare provider about the potential of dementia.

What you should know about dementia

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia show up slowly, sometimes without notice. The disease progresses at different rates for each person. In most cases, people still function normally throughout the beginning stages. Initially, a person will notice brief lapses in memory, like forgetting the name of a friend or where the car is parked.

As the disease progresses, tasks become more difficult. The ability to organize and plan becomes impaired. This might manifest as getting lost driving home for work or forgetting how to make a favorite recipe. In the final stages, most memories are hard to grasp and caring for oneself becomes impossible.

What are the signs of early dementia?

At one time or another, everyone has lost their keys or forgotten where they parked the car.

But the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are more serious than just forgetting a detail now and then. Some early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Memory loss impacting daily function

  • Difficulty planning

  • Difficulty completing tasks

  • Inability to determine time or place

  • Inability to interpret images

  • Trouble finding words

  • Misplacing things

  • Impaired judgment

  • Social withdrawal

  • Personality changes

Not sure how to talk to friends or family about Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia? Start by talking about modifiable risk factors. You can tell your loved ones how you’ve changed your diet or stress level to reduce your risk for cognitive decline.