Alzheimers: Early Signs & Symptoms



Alzheimer’s disease now affects more than 5 million Americans and is the most common form of dementia, a general term that describes a variety of diseases and conditions that develop when nerve cells in the brain die or no longer function normally.

The disease often begins with memory loss and difficulty concentrating, yet over time Alzheimer’s will completely impair one’s ability to carry out basic functions such as speaking, writing, walking, and swallowing… eventually leading to death.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association:

1)   Alzheimer’s is the now the 6th leading cause of death

2)   The disease will cost the nation $203 billion in 2013

3)   Someone develops Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging and there are ways to decrease your chances of getting it.


Another frightening trend is the younger age at which Alzheimer’s is emerging.  The time to begin taking care of your brain is now…. the Alzheimer’s Association currently estimates that more than 200,000 people in their 40s and 50s have early-onset, and by 2050, the number of people with Alzheimer’s is set to triple.

Since there is no cure on the horizon, prevention, early diagnosis, and intervention remain our most powerful allies.

Know the Signs and Symptoms

Keep an eye on your loved ones and look out for these 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s, compiled by the Alzheimer’s Association:

1)    Memory loss that disrupts daily life

2)    Challenges in planning or solving problems

3)    Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure

4)    Confusion with time or place

5)    Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6)    New problems with words in speaking or writing

7)    Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

8)    Decreased or poor judgment

9)    Withdrawal from work or social activities

10)  Changes in mood and personality

If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms described above, our Doctors can help.

Memory Strategies

By Dr. Timothy Shaw


  1. Write down important information. Get an appointment book or notebook and carry it with you everywhere. Keep all information in one place where you can always find it. Organize the information so it is useful.

  2. Use lists and make sure to have them with you when you need them by putting them in your memory book.

  3. Repeat and rehearse. The more times you are exposed to information, the more likely you will remember it later.

  4. Have a place for everything (keys, wallet, etc.). Put each item in its place every time so you know where to find it.

  5. On your way to do something, repeat to yourself what you are going to do so that you can remember it once you get there.

  6. Follow a similar routine every day to simplify life and save energy. You will need less effort to remember what needs to be done.

  7. When you learn something new, relate it to something you already know.

  8. If you can't remember, ask someone.

  9. Quiz yourself about things to be remembered.

  10. Your memory will work best when you are calm and relaxed.

  11. Think about one thing at a time.

  12. Visualize it, say it, hear it, write it, touch it. The more sensory modalities you use to encode information, the more likely you will remember it.

  13. Before driving, review and visualize the travel route in your mind. Talk to yourself as you drive to monitor the route and remember the destination. Prepare a clear map or written directions if necessary.

  14. Categorize of "chunk" information so there are fewer items to remember.

  15. Use mnemonic devices.

  16. After reading text, try to recall what you just read. Take notes of important points and review if necessary.


We hope that this handout has been helpful to you. At the Counseling Center of New Smyrna Beach we have several therapist who can assist you in getting the treatment you need. If we can be of help please call 386.423.9161 today. Start living your legacy!