What are the Most Common Early Onset Alzheimer's Symptoms?

Lori Smith
Lori Smith
Forgetfulness can be a sign of early onset Alzheimer's.
Forgetfulness can be a sign of early onset Alzheimer's.

Early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms are similar to those experienced by individuals diagnosed with the disease in later stages of life. They typically include personality changes, difficulty solving common problems, forgetfulness, exhibiting poor judgment, withdrawal from friends and family, and a lack of sexual desire. When these symptoms first appear in middle-aged adults, or people under the age of 65, they are often misunderstood. In fact, some people with undiagnosed early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms end up having many problems at work or at home. This is because their family, spouse, coworkers, and employers may view their actions as intentional — or simply careless.

A patient’s withdrawal from family and friends may be an early sign of Alzheimer's.
A patient’s withdrawal from family and friends may be an early sign of Alzheimer's.

It is normal to forget things from time to time. For example, many people can easily forget where they put their keys. Eventually, such items are usually found in a logical place. Perhaps papers were placed on top of them, which kept the keys out of view, or they may have fallen between sofa cushions.

When a person begins to exhibit signs of early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms, however, the keys might be found in unusual places, like the freezer, in a closet, or some other location where the placement does not normally make sense. When this happens, the individual is often very confused about how the keys ended up in a place that he did not even remember visiting. When things like this happen repeatedly, it may be a sign that something is wrong.

Doctors need specialized empathy and listening skills when assessing patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Doctors need specialized empathy and listening skills when assessing patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Along with forgetfulness, poor judgment is one of the most common early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms. The person suffering from the condition may begin to make bad business decisions at work. Similarly, he may do things at home that appear to be out of character. For example, instead of paying the mortgage, he may decide to invest it or purchase a frivolous item. Until the condition is diagnosed, the family usually does not understand the actions of their loved one, and they can become frustrated by the person's unpredictability.

Many people with Alzheimer's experience a loss of sexual desire.
Many people with Alzheimer's experience a loss of sexual desire.

The individual who is exhibiting early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms is often aware that something is amiss, but many times, embarrassment causes him to keep concerns to himself. Quite often, a person with such symptoms withdraws from friends, family, and social activities he once enjoyed. Many people with the condition also experience a loss of sexual desire, which may negatively affect the relationship with a spouse, and can be a source of contention between husband and wife.

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Discussion Comments

Animandel

Sporkasia - I can relate to the outbursts of anger you experience with your friend. My mother went through a similar stage of dementia. She got to the point where she would use language I had never heard her use. Then after a minute or so, she was calm again and acting as if nothing unusual had happened.

Sporkasia
I have a friend who began to show signs of dementia around age 60. I am younger, so I wasn't sure how much of her memory loss and her little mistakes I should credit to getting older and memory loss in the elderly. Regardless, her behavior set off a warning bell in my head, but I didn't want to listen to it. I didn't want to think my friend was in sick.

Before long the changes became obvious and I couldn't ignore them. She had always been such a kind, gentle and patient person then she began to have little blowups and she could be very mean in short bursts. She was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Animandel

One weekend I was visiting my parents. I lived in another state at the time, so I didn't see them as much as I had for most of my life, and I really looked forward to the time I spent with them.

My mother and father had gone to bed and I was still up watching TV. Then my mother walked into the room and began to look at the digital clock. I remember her asking what does PM mean? She could not figure out what time it was, or how much longer before she had to get up.

I was so frightened. As it turned out, my mother had been showing early signs of dementia for some time, but my father had not mentioned this to me. I think he was in denial.

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      By: chuugo
      Forgetfulness can be a sign of early onset Alzheimer's.
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