Alzheimer's disease is a gradually progressive illness of the brain. Usually the earliest symptom is short-term memory loss. Often people with early Alzheimer's disease may appear normal to acquaintances. However, loved ones and close friends may notice repetitious questions or comments. People with Alzheimer's disease may also have difficulty recalling appointments or managing checks or bills. With time other areas of thinking become affected. Often this can be seen with new difficulty in planning an outing, solving problems, difficulty with familiar tasks at home or work, confusion with time and/or place, trouble understanding visual information (e.g. reading or road signs), difficulty recalling words, problems keeping up with a conversation, and frequent misplacing things.
As Alzheimer's disease gradually progresses, people have increased difficulty performing their routine tasks at home, work, or in a social settings. These may include difficulty managing finances, putting away dishes, preparing a meal, using a computer, learning a new task for work, and playing a game (e.g. golf, tennis, or cards). With time, other problems can include getting lost, wandering away from their home, seeing things that are not real (i.e. hallucinations), believing things that are not true (i.e. delusions), or behaving inappropriately in a social situation.