We have all experienced some type of forgetfulness: names, dates, misplaced items. For most of us, this is a normal function of a busy life and overworked brain. But what does it mean when your symptoms go beyond simple “forgetfulness”?

Being able to recognize if your loved one is showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is imperative. If an elderly family member or a cherished loved one is showing any of the following signs of dementia, it might be time to get them some help.

1. Unusual Behavior

Alzheimer’s disease does not affect everyone the same way. If your loved one is acting differently, such as feeling paranoid, using foul language, being aggressive, or wandering off, they may be experiencing symptoms of dementia.

2. Changes in Personal Hygiene

If you have noticed a declining attention to hygiene, grooming, and other personal care in your elderly loved one, this may be a cause for concern. If he or she is wearing the same clothes days in a row, not brushing their teeth or hair, or not bathing, this could indicate dementia.

3. Forgetfulness

Not being able to remember things is a sign that many people often associate with Alzheimer’s disease. What begins with short-term memory loss such as forgetting medications or appointments, progresses to long-term memory loss as the disease progresses.

4. Unable to Complete Routine Tasks

Does your loved one get confused when trying to complete simple tasks? Do they forget how to use the stove or oven? Do they know where to put the dirty dishes? If your elderly loved one has trouble completing everyday, routine tasks, they may be experiencing the onset of dementia.

5. Withdrawing from Friends and Family

Depression can be a warning sign of dementia in older adults. If your loved one distances themselves from friends, family, and social activities, this can be a signal. Difficulty communicating and memory lapses can cause seniors who are experiencing symptoms of dementia to withdrawal from social situations.

6. Poor Judgment/ Bad Decisions

One common sign of Alzheimer’s disease is showing poor judgement or making poor decisions. For example, frivolously giving away large amounts of money or driving recklessly can signal the beginning stages of dementia.

7. Difficulty Communicating

Difficulty finding the right words can be difficult for older adults. However, if your loved one is having trouble expressing themselves through language can be a warning sign. Substituting the wrong words or frequent pauses in conversation can also be signs of dementia.

8. Pattern of Excuses

Oftentimes, those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia not only struggle to remember something, but they will come up with an excuse for the loss of memory. If you notice this behavior becomes a pattern, your loved one may be experiencing the onset of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is a sensitive subject. If you suspect your aging loved one is experiencing symptoms of dementia, you may want to talk with them about your concerns. Be sure to do so gently, compassionately, and without judgement. The conversation may not be easy, and it may take several attempts. Remember, you are not alone and there are resources available to those who not only live with dementia, but also for those who care for those living with dementia.