What are the first signs of Alzheimer's?

A fellow caregiver asked...

What are the first signs of Alzheimer's?

Expert Answer

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's. A Met Life Foundation Journalists in Aging fellow, she writes extensively about health and caregiving; four of her family members have had dementia.

Yes, memory lapses are often the first sign of Alzheimer's recognized by family members. But it's important to realize that many different factors can also cause memory impairment, including other dementias, depression, and drug interactions. (See a list here.) Other classic hallmarks of Alzheimer's include confusion over words, changes in personality, trouble with abstract thinking, and misplacing items. For an elaboration of these things and others, see "8 Signs to Watch for If You Suspect Alzheimer's."