How to Recognise the Early Signs of Dementia

Old lady staring into the distance in outdoor park looking as if she has dementia

Dementia itself isn’t considered an illness. However, it shares a number of symptoms of other diseases, which cause damage to brain function and usually affects people who are older than 65. Since the cure for dementia doesn’t exist yet and it also can’t be prevented, it’s good to recognise it in its early stages so that it gives you more time to reduce some of the symptoms.

Here are some of the earliest dementia symptoms you should look out for in your elderly loved ones.

Short-term Memory Loss

One of the early symptoms of dementia is having trouble remembering things. We are all forgetful sometimes, and this problem can be a subtle one, so it’s important to pay attention to what your loved one tends to forget. If they can recall events from their childhood and youth without blinking, but forget what they did this morning or where they went yesterday, this is short-term memory loss, which is usually the type of memory loss related to dementia. People with this problem are often oblivious to where they put something, what they were about to do, or why they came into a room. Other than recent events, they also have difficulties with remembering new names and faces.

Mood Changes

Mood swings are also a frequent symptom of this condition. It’s not a problem you can easily notice in yourself, especially if you have dementia, but you will be more likely to notice this issue with others. The person might even become depressed, or also have a complete personality transformation. For example, in the case of a shy person they may become outgoing all of a sudden, and this is a common type of personality shift with dementia. The reason for this is the impaired judgement in people suffering from dementia, which can also cause them to do unexpected things, such as spending a lot of money on something they don’t need, inviting strangers into their home, or even stop bathing and maintaining their personal hygiene. Sometimes they even lose interest in what they used to like, such as hobbies or spending time with their friends and family.

Difficulty Completing Everyday Tasks

This symptom can become especially problematic with people living alone. They start losing the ability to perform daily and even habitual tasks to a certain degree. The first signs may be: problems with dealing with finances, such as paying the bills or balancing checkbooks, as well as with following the rules of various games, or learning new things. Although this change can be subtle, it can get worse with time, which is why quality dementia care should be considered once these symptoms occur. Having professional staff and clinical support around the clock, while living in a calming and uplifting environment, surrounded by relaxing nature can be the safest and best solution for a person with dementia.

Confusion

Another early symptom of dementia is getting confused easily, due to the memory deterioration or shifts in judgement. It can cause them to stop remembering what people look like, have problems finding words to say, and become unable to lead and focus on a simple conversation. Other such situations may include misplacing their wallets or keys, losing track of their schedule, or repeating the same question several times, because they forget they’ve asked it before. They may also have difficulty keeping up with a storyline, remembering the meaning of some words they once knew, or following the news on TV or the radio.

Losing Sense Of Space And Time

Dementia sufferers sometimes experience the symptom of damaged spatial or temporal orientation. They lose direction, forget the way to the store or the post office, and can’t recognise the landmarks they’ve known from before. They can’t figure out what date or day it is, or even if it’s morning, afternoon or evening. On occasions, they can’t even remember where they are and when or how they got there.

If you notice some of these symptoms in people around you, encourage them to visit a doctor and see if it’s just an isolated event, or if they have a more serious problem at hand. The sooner they react, the better their chances of slowing its progression are.


Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in business and marketing related topics.

In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

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