Confusion with time and place, such as losing track of dates or forgetting where you are, is a fourth warning sign.
Others have trouble understanding visual images, difficulty reading and judging distance. A person calls objects by the wrong name, struggles with vocabulary or stops in the middle of a conversation and has no idea how to continue.
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps is the seventh warning sign. Decreased or poor judgment, especially in dealing with money, signals the onset of Alzheimer’s. Withdrawal from social activities, hobbies and work projects plus changes in mood and behavior are among the ten warning signs.
Individuals without symptoms but who have a family member with the disease may want to pursue genetic testing. The experts at Genetic Health point out that
“clinical genetic testing is currently only available for one of the three known genes- PS1 ( presenilin 1). Testing for the other two genes is available on a research basis only.”
Testing is appropriate for people with a family member having early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It may also be used to confirm a diagnosis in people with symptoms. It is important to test the right family member.
Genetic testing should begin with the family member who is most likely to have a mutation. Generally, that is the person who has already been diagnosed with the disease. If a PS1 mutation is found, other family members will be screened for this same mutation. (4)
Early onset Alzheimer’s disease poses unique challenges. It strikes individuals who are still employed, have young children and may have elderly parents to care for. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends individuals continue participating favorite activities, explore new and meaningful hobbies, join a support group, particularly one for people with early-onset, and work with a well-trained counselor. (1)
The Social Security Administration has added early-onset/ younger onset Alzheimer’s to the list of conditions under its Compassionate Allowance Initiative.