Dementia is a collection of symptoms that result from damage to the brain, which can be caused by different diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The symptoms will vary according to the part of the brain that has been damaged, but here are some of the common early symptoms and what to look out for in you or your loved one.
It is normal to occasionally forget appointments or things you need to do and remember them later on, but a person with dementia will forget things more often or not remember them at all. People may not recognise close family members and friends, or remember where they live or where they are.
Difficulty with tasks
A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal tasks may indicate that someone has early onset Dementia. This will usually start with difficulty completing day-to-day tasks, not being able to play games with lots of rules, struggling to learn new things or being unable to follow new routines.
Repetition is a common Dementia symptom because of memory loss and general behavioural changes. The person may repeat daily tasks that have already been done, such as brushing their teeth, or they may collect items obsessively. Another sign may be them repeating the same questions in a conversation after they’ve already been answered.
Forgetting simple words or substituting inappropriate words, making sentences difficult to understand and having trouble understanding others is another symptom of Dementia which people may suffer with.
Poor judgement and decisions
Many activities require good judgement. When this ability is affected by Dementia, the person may have difficulty making appropriate decisions, such as what to wear in cold weather.
Loss of initiative
It is normal to tire of some activities. Dementia may cause a person to lose interest in previously enjoyed activities or require cues prompting them to become involved.
Mood, personality or behaviour changes
A significant number of people will develop behavioural and psychological symptoms, which may include increased agitation, depressive symptoms, anxiety, wandering, aggression or sometimes experience hallucinations.
Struggling to adapt to change
Difficulty adapting to change is also a typical symptom of early Dementia. They may get fearful when they can’t remember where they are, can’t remember people they know or be able to follow what other people are saying. Because of this, they might crave routine and be afraid to try new experiences.
What to do if you notice these signs
If you notice any of the 10 warning signs of Dementia in yourself or someone that you know – make sure to book an appointment with your doctor for an assessment. With early detection, there are treatments that can help to provide relief from the symptoms and help you to maintain a level of independence for longer.
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