The early signs of dementia may not be evident to the untrained eye. The dementia symptoms may vary, but many are universal. If you have a retired loved one with several of the warning signs of dementia, consult a physician for a professional assessment. It’s never too early or too late to seek professional help.
Here are the ten early warning signs of dementia that you need to pay attention to:
Dementia Symptom #1. Loss of Short-Term Memory
Loss of memory is one of the early signs of dementia. The condition starts by affecting short term memory before proceeding to the long term memory. The older person may not remember what they had for dinner or where they kept an item yet may remember things that happened ten years ago.
If this happens, you should know these are dementia symptoms and the illness could be creeping in. Memory loss often causes frustrations that may lead to dementia anger.
Dementia Symptom #2. Difficulty in Communication
To notice the early warning signs of dementia, watch for difficulty in communication, difficulty converting thoughts into the right words. This makes a conversation with such an individual a long and challenging task. This difficulty in communication includes forgetting the meaning of simple words or misplacing them in sentences.
Dementia Symptom #3. Mood Swings
A person with dementia will experience mood swings. The individual does not notice this change, but those who regularly interact with them regularly will. The mood changes are early warning signs of dementia brought about by depression. For instance, your parent may appear collected, then very upset, and then angry in a short period.
If this happens without any provocation, then consider it a sign of dementia. Because dementia affects judgment, an individual may also experience a personality shift. An introvert may all of a sudden become an outgoing extrovert.
Dementia Symptom #4. Apathy
A person with early signs of dementia may show symptoms of listlessness. Your parent may no longer enjoy doing the things he/she is known to like. They may lose interest in socializing with family and friends and become emotionally flat. The reason for this is that the parents feel disconnected from current affairs.
Along with these dementia symptoms, they may also feel inadequate and insignificant and avoid mingling with the rest of society.
Dementia Symptom #5. Incomplete Tasks
A person who has dementia may find it very difficult to perform normal tasks. They may also lose interest in engaging in tasks they previously enjoyed doing. For example, if your parents used to be good at budgeting or baking, dementia could make it very hard to perform the least of these tasks.
A lack of enthusiasm in completing a job that they would typically enjoy should warn you of impending dementia. The struggle may start with complex tasks and then descend to less complicated things. It may also be accompanied by difficulty learning new tasks.
Dementia Symptom #6. Confusion
You can tell someone is developing early signs of dementia when they begin getting confused in familiar surroundings. They struggle to understand events that are not current. The mind of a dementia patient is situated in current happenings. They may find it hard to understand the passage of time.
The confusion that your parents could be going through may be brought about by lapses in thinking, memory and judgment. A warning bell should ring in your mind if you notice that a loved one cannot trace car keys or cannot remember an appointment.
Dementia Symptom #7. Difficulty Following Storylines
This is one of the classic early signs of dementia. Your parent may be unable to actively follow through a story to the end and often forget the meaning of common words. For them, watching a TV programme and following it to the end is not an easy task. If you can no longer engage in a meaningful discussion with your parent, you may want to consult a physician for a comprehensive health report.
Dementia Symptom #8. Lack of a Sense of Direction
Dementia causes a deterioration of the sense of direction. Your parent or loved one can no longer recognize familiar geographical features such as landmarks. All of a sudden, he/she can no longer remember previously familiar locations. Some people with these dementia symptoms may even get lost after wandering into once familiar, but now unfamiliar, surroundings.
Since they find it challenging to follow step-by-step directions, the best remedy may be to make sure they are accompanied by someone else whenever venture outdoors.
Dementia Symptom #9. Being Repetitive
Behavioural changes brought about by dementia also cause one to become repetitive. Your parent may repeat questions that are already answered, repeat daily tasks or be obsessive in performing some duties.
Dementia Symptom #10. Difficulty Adapting to Change
Because of memory loss, a person with dementia is apprehensive about everything new. They would rather stick to a mastered routine than try something that ends up wrong.
The early warning signs of dementia are subtle and may be confused with normalcy. If you suspect your loved one has dementia, do not jump into a conclusion. Check against this list, and if your loved one has at least three of those listed above, chances are they have dementia and need professional help.