Early Signs and symptoms of dementia

Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.  Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. There are a number of warning signs and symptoms.   There are a number of different forms of dementia and each is different.  Here below we include  10 typical signs and symptoms of dementia:

Memory loss that disrupts daily life

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stage, is the inability to recall events that have happened recently or forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same questions over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids  or family members, for things they used to handle on their own.

Challenges in concentrating, planning or organising

Some people living with dementia may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before, for example, not being able to make decisions, solve problems or carry out a sequence of tasks (plan a journey).

New problems with speech and language

People living with dementia may have trouble following or joining a conversation or have difficulties in finding the right word.  They may also stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue, or they may repeat themselves.  they may struggle with vocabulary, have trouble naming a familiar object or use the wrong name (e.g. calling a “watch” and “hand-clock”).  

Challenges in visual and /or spatial judgement

For some people, there may be problems with vision problems.   This may lead to an inability to determine the distance of something , such as on stairs) and seeing objects in three dimensions.  There may be difficulty with balance or trouble reading. They may also have problems judging distance and determining color or contrast, causing issues with driving.

Orientation - confusion with time or place

People living with dementia can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time, for example not know what day it is or becoming confused about where they are.   They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

Changes in mood and personality

Individuals living with dementia may experience mood and personality changes. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, with friends or when out of their comfort zone. They may experience changes in mood, becoming irritable or frustrated.   Anxious or withdrawn.

Hallucinations or delusions

For some types of dementia, there may be experiences of hallucinations or delusions which appear real.

Decreased or poor judgment

Individuals may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money or pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

A person living with dementia may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. He or she may accuse others of stealing, especially as the disease progresses.

Difficulty in completing familiar tasks

A person living with dementia  may often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes they may have trouble driving to a familiar location, organizing a grocery list or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

At Ty Hapus we aim to help people live well with dementia

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