Speech changes: Is it the first sign of Alzheimer's?

by CityView Staff

Speech changes: Is it the first sign of Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is one of the most common memory related degenerative diseases that affect elderly adults. This disorder is marked by cognitive and behavioral impairments that interfere with social and occupational functions. This disorder affects the hippocampus which is involved in encoding memories, spatial memories and recalling memories. Alzheimer’s disease is classified into mild, moderate and severe Alzheimer’s based on the symptoms and signs of the disease.

The latest research evidence discussed in the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in London shows that speech impairment may be the earliest signs of memory disorders.  

According to this study, “What we've discovered here is there are aspects of language that are affected earlier than we thought,” before or at the same time that memory problem emerge, said one study leader, Sterling Johnson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

No explicit cure has been identified for Alzheimer’s, but a variety of alternative activities and corrective behaviors have been discovered, and these ideas are implemented into the care programs made available through the memory care programs offered either in stand alone memory care organizations, or more commonly as memory care divisions within a senior living community or assisted living program. This is a popular solution because it gives seniors access to modern memory care therapeutic activities, ensures healthy individual care, and also helps to promote excellent mental and physical health by virtue of access to social activities, cultural activities, and pleasant dining accommodations, all which help to serve the more abstract concept of general personal wellness.

Speech changes may be thought to be the earliest sign of Alzheimer's disease.

It is evident that memory and cognitive function are interconnected in the brain.

The difficulty in speaking and the inability to say certain words is termed as Aphasia and is a key early symptom of Alzheimer’s. This also includes, slowed or halted speech, trouble finding words, using sentences with abnormal word order, substitution of words (e.g., “table” instead of “chair”), using words that are mispronounced or incomprehensible (e.g., “track” for “truck”), talking about a word (e.g., "We went to the place where you can get bread" for the words “grocery store”), difficulty understanding or following conversation despite normal hearing, sudden lapses in understanding simple words, and forgetting the names of familiar objects.

Memory care is all about improving the quality of life for residents. In a memory care program, residents receive therapy which helps them manage their symptoms, learn ways to deal with situations like forgetting words, and generally reduce the negative effects of the condition. Each individual is unique, and a skilled memory care specialist understands how to modify therapy to get the best out of the individual with the end goal of helping them minimize their memory loss and maximize their ability to enjoy a happy, fulfilling retirement.

If you have a family member who is experiencing Alzheimer’s, has trouble following conversations, or generally has a compromised ability to care for themself as a result of memory loss, please consider visiting CityView Senior Living to see if our memory care program is a fit for your family. We’re here to help your loved one control their memory loss so they can focus on a comfortable retirement experience.


Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet. (2017). National Institute on Aging. Retrieved 7 September 2017, from

For Families | Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. (2017). Retrieved 4 September 2017, from

Ferris, S., & Farlow, M. (2013). Language impairment in Alzheimer's disease and benefits of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Clinical Interventions In Aging, 1007.

Szatloczki, G., Hoffmann, I., Vincze, V., Kalman, J., & Pakaski, M. (2015). Speaking in Alzheimer’s Disease, is That an Early Sign? Importance of Changes in Language Abilities in Alzheimer’s Disease. Frontiers In Aging Neuroscience, 7.