What is Alzheimer’s like in the early stages?

This is a stage when the disease is mostly hidden from other people; however, to someone like me, it seems more obvious. The major problem is day-to-day functioning. For example, Kate has worked for more than a week on a half-page letter of reference for a young woman applying for a PEO scholarship . She has revised and revised it. I signed off on it several days ago, and discovered that she had never sent it and was revising it again. Two months in a row she has forgotten her monthly PEO meeting until someone called the night before. In fact, I just went into the bedroom to wake her up so that she would have plenty of time to get ready for PEO, and she had forgotten about the meeting. Of course, it is likely that she would have remembered it after getting up, but it would also be common for her to have forgotten completely. Two days ago she lost her purse with all her credit cards and ID, and we are scheduled to make a trip to NY on Tuesday. Right now I am assuming we will use her passport as ID. (Note added at 10:03 am. Kate found her purse at 9:30 this morning. It was beside her chair in our bedroom where she often works on her computer. She is quite relieved.) Her personal possessions are continuously being misplaced. She is less able to do the simplest things on the computer. All of these things frustrate her tremendously although we don’t talk about it. We just exchange knowing glances when things happen, and I find myself often giving her a hug.

More than ever in our married lives, she feels she really needs me. When I come home from visiting Dad each evening around 6:00, she often looks miffed that I have been gone so long. Then she will often say, “I am glad you are home.” This is not said in any routine way. It is a genuine expression of her insecurity and need for my presence. She also feels she needs me to take care of things for her.

She gets along beautifully with friends. They really wouldn’t know unless she asks a question about something they have just talked about. Even that is something that doesn’t normally tip off the person since all of us do that sort of thing occasionally.

She can’t follow instructions or any explanation of things nor is she able to give instructions. She will quickly stop me when I start to explain something. With others, she will simply “listen” and not process what they are saying. She frequently asks me to make calls for her, for example, to her doctor’s office to get a prescription refill or almost anything she can pass off to me.