The holiday season can be an especially important time of year to take a closer look at the physical and cognitive health of family and friends.
Spending time with friends and family members who may not see each other regularly throughout the year provides a great opportunity for a fresh perspective on health and behavior changes, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Cognitive changes can occur with age.
However, memory problems that impact daily living are not a part of typical aging.
Recognizing the differences between normal aging and potentially more serious problems can help to identify when it may be time to see a doctor. Individuals may experience one or more of these signs:
Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
Challenges in planning or solving problems.
Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
Confusion with time or place.
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
New problems with words in speaking or writing.
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
Decreased or poor judgment.
Withdrawal from work or social activities.
Changes in mood and personality.
If you notice any of these signs in yourself, a family member or a friend, visit your doctor. Noticing these signs and seeing your physician may allow for an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. This is an important step in getting appropriate treatment, care and support services.
An early diagnosis also affords more time to plan for the future and participate in care decisions.
Some individuals may decide to sign up for and participate in a clinical study through Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch — a free, easy-to-use matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current studies.
Anyone seeking more information, including the warning signs and clinical studies, can contact the Alzheimer’s Association at (800) 272-3900 or