Dementia can be immensely difficult to detect. The early signs are very vague and extremely subtle. They are not immediately obvious. The early symptoms for dementia are going to depend on the type that it is and is going to vary for each person.
Common Symptoms For Dementia
Although symptoms for dementia are going to be different for each individual person and will depend on the type of dementia that is being suffered, there are common symptoms that are experienced.
- Memory difficulties; there will be an especially hard time remembering recent occurrences.
- Confusion will be increasing.
- Concentration will become more difficult.
- Changes will be noted in personality or behavior.
- There will be signs of depression or withdrawal and apathy.
- Everyday tasks will not be able to be done.
There is a misconception among people that these symptoms are just a ‘normal’ part of aging and don’t see these as an indication that there is something wrong. The symptoms may come on slowly and go unrecognized for a significant period of time. There are some who don’t react at all even when they do realize that there is a problem.
What Are The Warning Signs of Dementia
There are warning signs that will help make sense of the symptoms that may be happening. If any of these sound familiar, it may be time to call a doctor in order to have an evaluation.
Dementia and Memory Loss
It’s not unusual to forget an appointment only to remember it later every now and again. A person who is dealing with dementia is going to forget more often than not or not remember them in any case.
Dementia and Difficult With Activities
People can get distracted from what they’re doing and forget to complete the activity, e.g. not bring all of the food to the table when serving dinner. Someone who is having difficulties resulting from dementia may have issues with each step that is involved in making dinner.
Dementia and Disorientation
A person that is having symptoms related to dementia may have trouble in finding their way to a place that should be familiar to them or be overall confused with where they currently are in a particular situation. There are instances where they believe they are at a point back in some previous part of their life when they were younger.
Dementia and Language Problems
We all experience moments where we tend to forget a word when we’re speaking or can’t find the right word that we want to convey our message, but someone who is experiencing dementia tends to forget the simplest words or can replace with a word that is inappropriate for the context making it difficult to understand the sentences. They will also have trouble in understanding those around them.
Dementia and Changes In Abstract Thinking
Managing finances is complex and is difficult for everyone, but a person that may be suffering from the effects of dementia has issue with knowing exactly what the numbers mean or what they are supposed to do with them.
Dementia and Poor Judgment
Most activities in life require that we have good judgment. When this capability has been affected by the onset of dementia, the person will have trouble in making decisions as far as simply knowing what clothes to put on in cold temperatures.
Dementia and Poor Spatial Skills
Driving a car is a serious business and we need to be able to judge and make appropriate decisions when we’re behind the wheel. A person affected by dementia will have difficulty in judging distance as well as with directions.
Dementia and Misplacing Things/Personality Changes/Loss of Initiative
When we lose things, it’s because we have misplaced where we put them. The people who are suffering from dementia don’t remember what the things that are lost are supposed to be used for. After a while, the symptoms will become more apparent with dementia. There will be mood swings that are not typical for the person that you may know. They will be quick and with no explanation. They may have a tendency of becoming suspicious or confused or even withdrawn. Some may become much more outgoing. There are those suffering from symptoms who simply lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed and have to be prompted in order to participate.
There are many conditions that act like dementia, so it is critical not to assume that a person is suffering from dementia based on the above-listed symptoms. Call a doctor to determine:
- Has there been a stroke
- Evaluate for depression
- Detect if there is long-term alcohol abuse
- Is the person deficient with nutrition
- Is there an infection
- A possible hormone disorder
- Detection of a brain tumor
How To Help
Some people could be very resistant to the idea of going to a doctor, particularly if they don’t realize or are in denial to the fact that there is any type of problem going on with them. This can be based on the changes happening with the brain due to dementia interfering with the ability to see or understand what is happening. Others recognize that there is something going on, but might have a fear of having this confirmed.
An effective way to avoid having the person deny a doctor’s visit is to think of a different reason to get them to the doctor. Possibly suggest a check-up over a symptom that they have no problem acknowledging to have looked at, e.g. medication check or blood pressure.
It’s also possible if the person believes that it is time for both of you to have a physical check-up. Any kind of anxiety should be met with calming reassurance and a caring demeanor in order to assist in relieving any fears or worries that the person may be experiencing.
Sometimes your family or close friend might vehemently refuse a visit to the doctor regarding their symptoms. This may result in you needing to reach out for support in other ways:
- Contact the National Dementia Helpline for guidance.
- Speak to others who might be dealing with situations similar to yours.
- Call the doctor and let them know what the symptoms are. They will provide their recommendations and could offer suggestions you hadn’t thought of.
Dementia is a difficult and scary illness for the person who is suffering and those who are watching helplessly as they suffer. The best we can do is to find ways to get as much help for them as they will allow and develop a great support system.