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|Alzheimer's disease symptoms develop slowly. However, there are many other problems that develop slowly and may cause gradual decline. An overactive or underactive thyroid, vitamin B12 deficiency, poor nutrition, Parkinson's disease, hearing impairment and depression are examples. Symptoms from these usually develop slowly and may mimic Alzheimer's disease. Loneliness and social isolation can also cause gradual decline. Improved transportation, hearing aids or glasses, joining a health spa, volunteer work, kind words of reassurance or a big hug now and then can all have remarkable therapeutic effects.