Knowing the early signs of dementia is important if you are concerned for yourself or a loved one. Dementia is not a disease. Rather, it is a general word for the symptoms that involve loss of cognitive function or memory. Dementia is common in people who are more than 50 years old, especially if they have a family history of dementia.
Every person experiences its symptoms differently. But there are common early signs that may show some time before your doctor diagnoses you with dementia. Here are six early signs of dementia.
Occasionally, we all forget where we placed things. It is normal to forget your friend’s birthday, a workmate’s name, or where you put your house or car keys. It is also normal to review your steps to find the keys on a pile of books or think back and remember your colleague’s name.
But living with dementia can make you forget these things and have trouble remembering that information. That includes information you may have learned recently. As a result, you may ask the same questions repeatedly or tell the same story several times.
You may lose focus easily or have a shorter attention span with dementia. Dementia affects the brain’s ability to store new memories or information. That interrupts your ability to maintain focus or hang on to a train of thought. Moreover, you may find many seemingly straightforward chores hard to do when divided into steps.
Reduced Ability to Perform Daily Tasks
Daily tasks are familiar. But with dementia, you may forget how to get dressed, play a game, or prepare a meal. It is normal to forget things when you are running a tight schedule. Busy days, stress, and poor sleep can make you forget to serve a slice of a meal, only to recall later. However, dementia may make it hard for you to finish tasks you have been doing all your life.
Difficulties with Speech and Writing
Are you stalling in your conversations? We all have to recall the right words to use in conversations from time to time. Besides, that happens a lot as we grow older. However, extreme difficulties recalling words, calling people and things by the wrong names, and withdrawing from conversations, is not usual. You may stop speaking mid-thought and forget what you were saying. That is a telltale sign of dementia.
Time and Place Mix-ups
Do you often forget what day it is, how much time is passing, or how you got to a place? If yes, you could be at risk for dementia. More concerning is not realizing or knowing that you have forgotten the time or place.
Changes in Mood, Behavior, and Personality
Dementia can cause various mood swings. You can move from calmness to anxiety or irritation for no apparent reason. You may also start behaving in ways that are out of character. You may become withdrawn, disoriented, fearful, or lack interest in things. Our Personal Care Community can help if you are concerned about these signs.