One of the most important items in my opinion is the ability to make payments and spending money. This is more complex and can be an early indication of the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia. If I had looked closer I would have been tipped off that my mother was suffering from dementia. I also suggest paying close attention to prescription medicines and if they are being taken according to schedule.
If you are worried that you or a relative is developing Alzheimer’s, answer the following questions. Answer “yes” if the behavior indicates a change in the last several years.
1. Problems with judgment (such as trouble making decisions, bad financial moves)
2. Less interest in hobbies or activities
3. Repeating the same things over and over (questions, stories or statements)
4. Trouble learning how to use a tool, appliance or gadget
5. Forgets correct month or year
6. Trouble handling complicated financial affairs (such as income taxes, balancing checkbook)
7. Trouble remembering appointments
8. Daily problems with thinking and/or memory
Scoring: A “yes” to none or just one question probably does not indicate any kind of dementia, although the questionnaire can’t rule out very early cases. So don’t hesitate to get help if you continue to be concerned. If you answer yes to two or more questions, you should seek an assessment by a specialist.
Source: Adapted from J.E. Galvin et. al., “The AD8, a Brief Informant Interview to Detect Dementia,” Neurology 65 (2005): 559-64.