Alzheimer’s: Dressing unkempt, parking poorly, and cursing are signs of illness

Memory loss, confusion and disorientation are the three well-known signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, there are dozens of subtle behavioral changes that can also indicate the cruel condition of stealing from life.

Before the most devastating symptoms of the disease even begin, sufferers may experience a shift in humor and start wearing more scruffy clothing.

And scientists this week uncovered another potential sign.

Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) found that seniors who were more willing to give money to a stranger appeared to have a higher risk of being affected.

Alzheimer’s affects an estimated 850,000 people in the UK and 5.8 million in the US, but charities fear that rates will increase around the world over the next few decades as the population ages.

Here, MailOnline reveals some of the other unusual signs that you or a loved one may have Alzheimer’s.

While memory loss, confusion, and disorientation are all well-known signs of Alzheimer’s, experts have also discovered dozens of subtle behaviors that could indicate the condition. The graph shows: Six signs of Alzheimer’s disease

Give money

It is known that older people are more at risk of scams.

But the latest research also shows that handing out money could potentially be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.

Researchers from USC and Bar-Ilan University in Israel found that financial altruism was significantly linked to being in the early stages of the disease.

The researchers gathered 67 seniors in their 70s for the study.

Each participant was paired with another person they had never met before in a lab setting and handed $ 10 (£ 8) to distribute between them and each other.

The elderly participants also underwent neurological tests to judge their current cognitive status and their potential risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The researchers found that those who were willing to give more money to a person they had never met before were also often in worse cognition, suggesting they were more at risk for Alzheimer’s.

The findings, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, suggested that the disease’s effects on the brain could have a ripple effect that makes people more vulnerable to the distribution of money.

Dr Duke Han, a neuropsychology professor at USC who led the research, said, “Problems with money management are believed to be one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease and this finding supports that notion.”

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and degenerative brain disease in which the buildup of abnormal proteins causes the death of nerve cells.

This interrupts the transmitters carrying the messages and causes the brain to shrink.

More than 5 million people suffer from the disease in the United States, where it is the sixth leading cause of death, and more than 1 million Britons suffer from it.


When brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost.

This includes memory, orientation and the ability to think and reason.

The progress of the disease is slow and gradual.

On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some can live ten to 15 years.


  • Loss of short-term memory
  • Disorientation
  • Behavioral changes
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty managing money or making a phone call


  • Severe memory loss, forgetfulness of close family members, familiar objects or places
  • Becoming anxious and frustrated at an inability to make sense of the world, leading to aggressive behavior
  • Eventually you lose the ability to walk
  • He may have trouble eating
  • Most will eventually need around-the-clock assistance

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

Humor changes

According to research, being a huge Mr Bean fan could be another sign of Alzheimer’s.

Researchers at University College London (UCL) have found that people suffering from this disease are more likely to enjoy slapsticks during satirical or absurd comedy shows than healthy adults of the same age.

Friends and relatives of 48 people with Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) – a rare type of dementia that causes problems with behavior and language – were given questionnaires on the liking of a loved one for the different types of comedy.

They were asked if people liked slapstick comedies like Rowan Atkinson, satirical comedies like South Park or absurd comedies like The Might Boosh.

Family members were also asked if their relative had changed their preference in the past 15 years and if they had ever noticed inappropriate humor more recently.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2015, found that people with Alzheimer’s began to prefer slapstick jokes about nine years before the onset of typical dementia symptoms.

People with FTD were also more likely to laugh at tragic events in the news or in their personal life, or events that others would not find funny such as a poorly parked car or a barking dog.

The researchers said more studies are needed to determine the exact cause of the mood changes, but most of the behavioral changes after Alzheimer’s development are caused by brain shrinkage in the frontal lobe.

Scruffy dressing

People with Alzheimer’s may also have a hard time choosing clothes that go well together and wearing things that are suitable for the weather when not being helped.

Researchers from the universities of Kent and York have described how people suffering from dementia, which is most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s, have become less able to dress on their own.

The research, published in Sociology of Health and Illness in 2018, studied 32 people in three nursing homes and 15 regular homes in Kent.

He also interviewed 29 family carers and relatives and 28 nursing home staff to get their views on how to dress people with dementia.

Melissa, a family caregiver who was cited in the study, described her devastation after her father started changing the way she dressed when she had Alzheimer’s.

He said: ‘I’ve never seen my daddy scruffy. Never. Until that day I came into the house and he is sitting there with his ruined clothes that really hurt me because I’m not used to it, not at all. ‘

Caregivers also described the difficulties in investing people with more advanced dementia, having to guide their arms and encourage.

Dressing changes can be caused by a variety of Alzheimer’s effects, forgetting the clothes that belong to them, muscle stiffness, and sudden, abrupt movements that make them more difficult to wear.

Bad parking

Driving an Alzheimer’s patient can also worsen significantly as the condition begins to affect their motor skills and thinking processes, according to studies.

The disease slows people’s reactions, making them worse when parking and eventually forcing them to give up their car keys.

Stopping driving can often cause stress and agitation for people with the memory stolen condition, due to the perceived sacrifice in range.

Researchers from Washington University in St Louis studied the driving habits of 139 people over a year to see how the disease impacted them. Half were diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease while the other half were not.

The study, published in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy in 2021, found that people with the disease were significantly more likely to make sharp changes in direction and drive slower.

The changes were so radical that the researchers were able to create a model for predicting whether people have Alzheimer’s based on driving alone.

The model predicted cases with accuracy in 90% of people.


Another sign of Alzheimer’s can become more of a potty, particularly in inappropriate situations.

The filter that people normally use to stop swearing in front of children, for example, is no longer as strong, resulting in more swearing.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that 18 percent of people with FTD used the word “f ** k” when asked to name words starting with “f”. This compared to none of those who had Alzheimer’s.

The 70-patient study, published in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology in 2010, asked patients to name as many words as they could think of starting with the letters “f”, “a” and “s” in one minute.

Although the study did not provide raw data, it did show that six of the 32 dementia patients uttered the bad word when asked to list the words for “f”, and more said the word “s ** t” for “. s “.

Having no filter

Similar to the oath, when Alzheimer’s patients’ brains change, their ability to filter what they say and how they act tends to degenerate in many cases.

People can become rude, say inappropriate things, start stripping in public, or start talking to strangers more often than they previously would.

Experts say patients can also lose their sexual inhibitions in some circumstances, such as touching inappropriately in public.

They believe the change is caused by the brain’s narrowing in the frontal prefrontal cortex in the frontal lobes of the brain, the part that controls our filter.

The Alzheimer’s Society said, “These situations can be very confusing, distressing, shocking or frustrating for someone with dementia, as well as for those close to them.

‘The person with dementia may not understand why their behavior is considered inappropriate. It is very unlikely that they are inappropriate on purpose. ‘