12 Early Signs of Dementia You Can’t Ignore
Learning a loved one has dementia can be a hard pill for some people to swallow, especially because the diagnosis usually comes after the signs are fairly obvious. Today, we want to highlight some of the early signs of dementia so that you can talk to your loved one (or your own doctor) for early treatment.
The current estimate of people living with dementia around the world today is around 47 million. With such an overwhelming number living with this disease, recognizing the early signs of dementia is crucial.
Dementia is an umbrella term for a number of diseases affecting the mind. Alzheimer’s, for instance, is a specific subtype affecting things like memory and language.
Regardless of which form of dementia sets in, it can cause a lot of harm both on the sufferer and their family and friends. But it’s the people in these close circles that will be able to do the most good for them.
Detecting early signs will ultimately help to connect patients with available medical assistance. And this will help preserve the character, stability, and personality of those with dementia.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the early signs of dementia, helping you detect the damaging effects of this disease as soon as possible.
Detecting the Early Signs of Dementia
Knowing the differences between cognitive impairments will help you recognize the signs early on. You can learn more about the differences in online medical resources.
While the following signs might seem normal, together they can be early indicators of the degrading effects of dementia. While you shouldn’t assume any single one to be a sure sign of the disease, many are regular onsets.
Knowing your friends or family well enough to recognize subtle to extreme behavioral changes is a humongous benefit to them.
You should also understand how to properly handle difficult behavior in people suffering from dementia. Educating yourself about the signs on the following list can mean all the difference in the world for a loved one.
Confusion is a major side effect of conditions such as dementia that affect the condition of the mind. In the earliest stages, people may begin to forget faces or names and forget how to socialize.
They may lose common items like their keys or phone often or forget where familiar objects are. The changes they experience can be extremely confusing, leading to other negative side effects like anger and depression.
When someone suffers severe symptoms of dementia, such as confusion, it can wear down on their self-esteem. Unusual depression is a common sign of people whose bodies or minds are changing without their control.
While we all get down from time to time, you should recognize new patterns and lingering episodes of depression.
3. Difficulty Concentrating
It’s not uncommon for people afflicted with some form of dementia to develop an impatience and lack of concentration. This can range from entertainment such as movies or books or everyday tasks like calculating math.
Difficulty concentrating can be a major danger with someone, say, behind the wheel of a car or controlling a heavy machine.
4. Trouble Speaking or Communicating
You may notice that someone’s ability to communicate has become significantly impaired. They may take a while to speak and could get frustrated with themselves easily.
There may be an issue with enunciating, and more than likely they’ll take a long time to pick out the right words to say. Sometimes communicating escapes them entirely.
The opposite of empathy, or being sensitive to the feelings of others, apathy shows itself in early dementia. People suffering from dementia may start to lose the will to go out, to socialize, and to keep up old hobbies and relationships.
It’s common for those afflicted to lose their patience with others, often uncareful of what they say or how they say it.
6. Mood and Personality Shifts
Though a person may not be able to recognize early dementia in themselves, others can hopefully recognize shifts in mood and personality. Someone jovial and outgoing who suddenly turns into a cynical hermit may be exhibiting symptoms.
Mood shifts, in any major direction, can be another early sign.
7. A Loss in Sense of Direction
Getting turned around, losing yourself, is a terrifying feeling. On top of the other changes people with dementia face, losing their sense of direction can cause panic.
This can be as dramatic as losing their way off a highway while driving home. It also can be as simple as getting turned around in a very familiar setting, such as a supermarket or even their own home.
8. Short-Term Memory Loss
Memory is one of the first things affected in patients with dementia. Things don’t seem to line up the right ways, memories become harder to access.
In the early onsets of dementia, short-term memory is especially affected. Some may wonder why they’ve entered a room or where they’ve left something important.
9. Losing Track of Rules
A game with a lot of rules can seem overly complicated to a newcomer. They get frustrated and figure it’s not any fun anymore before long.
The kind of memory retention required for board game rules can fail someone with early dementia. Many complicated aspects of life become frustrating and overwhelming–even seemingly simple things like remembering board game rules.
10. Aversion to Change
When someone begins to lose their grasp on their memory and familiarity, change can be terrifying. Feeling comfortable with a normal routine is, sometimes, the last comfort for someone suffering from dementia.
Seeing the signs early might be simply recognizing a sudden or uncommon aversion to change in someone.
Someone with early dementia might begin to recognize that something is changing in them, but are powerless to stop it. If so, then anxiety is likely quick to follow.
Even if they don’t understand exactly what’s changing–perspective, mood, fears, memory–something is changing. It’s hard not to stress over minimal things, much less the dramatic changes early dementia can have on the mind.
One of the major identifiers of dementia is a growing suspicion of people and surroundings. As sufferers begin to see a decline in memory, they try to make a new sense of right and wrong. From that stems a growing suspicion of all things.
Where to Go Next
Detecting the early signs of dementia is a major benefit to your friends and family. It can mean all the difference in the world in terms of treatment, happiness, and the well-being of many.
Talk with family and friends if you recognize these signs in a loved one, but always think of the afflicted first. Do what you can to help them during this extremely difficult time.
For more insider tips and advice, explore more of our lifestyle blogs at Sweet Captcha.