Q: I have been so busy and stressed out lately and am often misplacing things. Is that a warning sign of Alzheimer's?
A: One of the ten warning signs of Alzheimer's is not only misplacing things, but finding them in odd places where you don't remember putting them is. We all misplace our keys, but have you ever found them in the microwave—someplace you would have never put them? That's the difference.
My father misplaced all kinds of things that I would eventually find in odd places. One time he put the pencil sharpener and stapler in his accordion case and then emphatically denied he did it. I didn't understand dementia yet and what was starting to happen to him—so I just thought he was trying to drive me crazy!
Also, you mention that you have been busy and under a lot of stress, which could account for your being distracted with so much on your mind. Print out these warning signs below and keep track of any you notice in yourself. If you record numerous examples, ask your doctor for a mini mental state exam to begin the evaluation.
The Alzheimer's Association's Warning Signs of Alzheimer's:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems with language
- Disorientation to time and place
- Poor or decreased judgment
- Problems with abstract thinking
- Misplacing things
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Changes in personality
- Loss of initiative
Jacqueline Marcell cared for her elderly parents with Alzheimer's disease and authored "Elder Rage." She hosts the internet radio program "Coping With Caregiving." Read her full biography