The Alzheimer’s Association together with advocates in the early stages of the disease are encouraging families to talk about memory and cognition concerns sooner. These advocates know first-hand that an early diagnosis offers many benefits, including access to more effective medical and lifestyle interventions and the ability to take an active role in planning with family members for the future.

To help families overcome common communication obstacles, the Alzheimer’s Association is offering 6 Tips for Approaching Alzheimer’s, a list of best practices for talking about the disease with someone who may be experiencing symptoms. These include:

• Have the conversation as early as possible

• Think about who is best suited to have the conversation

• Practice conversation starters

• Offer support and companionship

• Anticipate gaps in self-awareness

• Recognize the conversation may not go as planned

To help people understand early symptoms of Alzheimer’s or behaviors that merit discussion, the Alzheimer’s Association offers 10 Warning Signs. Should these signs appear, it is important to talk about them with the person experiencing symptoms and encourage them to speak with a medical professional. They are:

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life

• Challenges in planning or solving problems

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or leisure

• Confusion with time or place

• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

• New problems with words in speaking or writing

• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

• Decreased or poor judgment

• Withdrawal from work or social activities

• Changes in mood and personality

Learn more at https://www.alz.org. Alzheimer's Association Helpline: 800-272-3900.