The 10 Warning Signs Of Dementia

It’s funny the things we remember. For instance, I still can tell you some of my best friends’ home phone numbers from 25 years ago (we didn’t have cell phones back then) even though I haven’t dialed them in the last 15 years.

These days I’ll walk into my publisher’s office and somehow in the 30-second walk there from my desk will forget what I needed to talk to him about. Then, of course, there are those endless “Hiii … (I hope it’s not obvious I can’t remember your name)” moments, or rushing back into the parking lot to lock the car only to find that it was already locked. And I admit I’m really bad at remembering birth dates.

Yes, there are typical age-related changes, such as forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later, making occasional errors when balancing your checkbook, misplacing things and then retracing your steps to find them or having trouble finding the right word.

But sometimes memory loss can be a sign of some thing more serious, such as Alzheimer’s disease, a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 31,000 Hawaii residents have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. Early detection is important, and here are 10 warning signs and symptoms to look for:

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as forgetting recently learned information, important dates or events, or asking for the same information over and visual images and spatial relationships such as vision problems or judging distance.

• New problems with words in speaking or writing, such as following or joining a conversation, or struggling with vocabulary.

• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps to find them again.

• Decreased or poor judgment, such as when dealing with money, or paying less attention to grooming.

• Withdrawal from work projects or social activities.

• Changes in mood and personality.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Alzheimer’s Association-Aloha Chapter presents the 3-mile Oahu Walk To End Alzheimer’s at Magic Island. Proceeds will go to caregiver counseling, support and training programs offered by the chapter.

Registration begins at 6 a.m., and the walk starts at 7 a.m. Donations of any amount are accepted. For details, call 593-1901, email or register online at