Spotting the Early Signs of Dementia
Forgetfulness is common in elderly relatives, and it is sometimes assumed that dementia is the cause. However, that is not always the case. Having a good idea of the early signs and symptoms can help to distinguish the steps you should take in order to best care for your loved one.
Initial symptoms are often very mild, with changes happening gradually. This can be beneficial, as it gives you and the support system around the person suffering, time to adjust to and slow down the disease where possible.
Unfortunately, there is currently no simple test to carry out in order to diagnose dementia, and early symptoms can be similar to age-related ones.
However, if you are ever concerned or worried about memory problems, or other symptoms which align with any of the first signs of dementia, it’s important you talk to your GP sooner rather than later to gain support.
Mood changes can happen for a number of reasons, whether that’s a change in environment, the seasons or perhaps another illness, so is often not recognised as one of the dementia signs and symptoms.
Noticing that a loved one may suddenly be depressed, exhausted, lacking motivation or short tempered could be one of the first signs of dementia.
Struggling to Find Words
One of the most common symptoms reported to GP’s is the deterioration of vocabulary. This could be anything from struggling to follow or join a conversation but could also include stopping mid-sentence as they aren’t sure how to continue.
An example of something which is normal and age-related could be sometimes forgetting which word to use, however, signs of dementia could be overall difficulty having a conversation and struggling to put together simple sentences.
Struggling with Familiar Tasks
Another of the first signs of dementia is when you notice a loved one finding it hard to complete daily tasks.
This could be anything, such as remembering the rules of a game, struggling to use a familiar appliance, locking and closing the front door, or turning off the oven.
Although it is common for everyone to lose things from time to time, especially in later years, an early warning sign of dementia is commonly misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them.
Someone showing the first signs of dementia may begin to experience memory loss issues, particularly short-term memory loss.
This can mean that they remember things that happened months or years ago vividly, but struggle to remember a conversation that took place recently.
It is normal to forget what day of the week it is, only to remember it later, but dementia signs and symptoms are more severe. For example: losing track of the date or season or forgetting what they had to eat or why they entered a room.
As a result of the memory loss, repetition can often signify early dementia, as they may not remember that they have had a conversation or spoken about something very recently.
Another aspect of memory loss is overall confusion.
This could vary from a person being unsure where they are, or even who a person is. As they may be unable to withhold short term, changeable information such as date and time, this can often cause confusion, and is something which is easily recognisable when seeking a dementia diagnosis.
What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder with varying stages and symptoms, of which there is currently no cure. Research and studies are constantly being undertaken in order to gain more knowledge and insights into how we can help and support those suffering with a dementia diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s is a specific disease and is the most common cause of dementia. The disease, like other causes of dementia, steadily gets worse over time affecting memory, language, and thoughts.
Getting a Dementia Diagnosis
Have you noticed some of the above in an elderly friend or loved one? If you see that they are being affected by two or more of these early warning signs of dementia, you should contact a doctor for support.
By acting quickly and speaking to a professional, it is easier to determine whether it is a dementia diagnosis or another cognitive issue.
Dementia most commonly affects the elderly, those over the age of 65, but can affect anyone from the age of 30, so if you notice any of the above symptoms it’s worth contacting a GP to discuss.
Moving into a Dementia Care Home
Sadly, as time progresses with a dementia diagnosis, those living with the disease will often find it hard to live independently and moving into a dementia care home can become a necessity.
We understand that choosing to move a loved one into a care home can be a highly challenging and emotional time, however we strive to always provide you and your family with dignified care and support.
If you have a loved one who you believe may be in need of a dementia care home or wish to consider the possibilities of other care services, then please contact us today to chat with one of our compassionate advisors to find the perfect care home.