Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - The holiday season can be an especially important time of year to take a closer look at the physical and cognitive health of family and friends.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, spending time with friends and family members who may not see each other regularly throughout the year provides a great opportunity for a fresh _perspective on health and behavior changes.

Cognitive changes can occur with age; however, memory problems that impact daily living are not a part of typical aging. Recognizing the differences between normal aging and potentially more serious problems can help to identify when it may be time to see a doctor.

Know the 10 Warning Signs

An important part of an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis is spotting warning signs and bringing them to the attention of a medical professional. Individuals may experience one or more of these signs:

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life.

• Challenges in planning or solving problems.

• Difficulty completing _familiar tasks at home, at work or at 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.

If you notice any of these signs in yourself, a family member or a friend, visit your doctor.

Early Diagnosis Is Key

Noticing these signs and seeing your physician may allow for an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. This is an important step in getting appropriate treatment, care and support services. Once diagnosed, individuals living with the disease can benefit from treatments that may improve symptoms and help longer maintain a level of independence.

An early diagnosis also affords more time to plan for the future and participate in care decisions. Some individuals may even choose to sign up for and par_ticipate in a clinical study through Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch-a free, easy-to-use matching service that connects individuals with Alz_heimer’s, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current studies.

A Helpful Resource

Anyone with questions about Alzheimer’s disease or seeking information, including the 10 Warning Signs, clinical studies and resources, should contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 toll-free Helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit www.alz.org.