Many of us fear that our parent will succumb to Alzheimer’s. According to the National Vital Statistics System, it is the fifth leading cause of death among people aged 65 years and over, so it is a reasonable concern. However that fear can lead to worry that a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s when the “symptom” is only a natural part being human and not Alzheimer’s. So we created a quick reference chart showing the 10 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s versus Aging to help you better understand the difference. You can also download a PDF version of the Alzheimer’s vs Aging poster.

Some of the differences in the 10 Early Signs Alzheimer’s vs Aging chart might seem subtle, but they are not. There is a significant difference between forgetting several appointments, birthdays, holidays and anniversaries versus forgetting one and then remembering later that your forgot it. Remembering that you forgot it either by getting a call from someone telling you that you missed an appointment or remembering that your sister’s birthday was last Thursday and you didn’t call or send a card is normal. It happens to all of us and may happen more often as we age. However, an early sign of Alzheimer’s is when we cannot recall that we have forgotten these things, and we may get irritated if someone insists that we did forget.  So it’s important to learn what to look for when you are concerned that a love one may be exhibiting signs of early Alzheimer’s.  It’s also important to note that there are other forms of dementia, and there are illnesses that can mimic dementia, such as “silent” UTIs so if you suspect mental deterioration then its time to see a doctor to ensure that all possible causes for the behavior are explored.

10 Early Signs of Alzheimer's versus Aging infographic