Whilst Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are slightly different – the early signs of being able to detect them are quite similar. If you notice these signs in someone that you know or even in yourself, please consider seeking help from a doctor or your care provider to arrange dementia care if needed. Dementia is not a normal aspect of the ageing process; the early signs of dementia are as follows:
Short-term memory loss is one of the most common symptoms of dementia. For example, ordinary forgetfulness is recognising someone and who they are, but perhaps forgetting their name. Someone with dementia would not only forget the person’s name, but also the context in which they know the person.
Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks
Getting dressed is something you do so frequently that often you do not need to think about the order in which you do it. Someone with dementia may perhaps forget the order of which to put clothes on or the steps of how to prepare their favourite meal.
Problems with Speaking / Difficulty with Language
People with dementia can forget simple words, typically used in everyday speech, and replace them with words of no relation; often making speech and writing difficult to understand.
Disorientation: Primarily with Time or Place
Getting lost in familiar places (i.e. on the street in which they live, how or why they are somewhere, not knowing how to get home from a familiar location) and confusing night and day is a common early sign of dementia.
Poor or Decreased Judgement
This is often seen with inappropriate dress. For example, putting on too many layers on a warm day or not nearly enough layers on a cold day.
Problems Keeping Track of Things
People with dementia can often have a hard time keeping up a conversation or even forget to pay their bills on time.
Whilst everyone misplaces things from time to time (i.e. mobile phone or keys), people with dementia may misplace a toothbrush in the refrigerator or an iron in the bathroom sink.
Changes in Mood or Behaviour
This is represented in two ways. Someone with dementia may become less emotional than he/she previously has been. On the reverse, they could experience rapid mood shifts and unexplainable mood swings.
Changes in Personality
Someone with dementia can experience feelings of suspicion, anger, irritability, depression, apathy, anxiety or agitation – especially in situations whereas memory loss is already causing hardship.
Loss of Initiative
Dementia can reveal itself in changes of initiative as well. Someone may become unusually passive; watching television for hours on end, sleeping more than usual and loss of interest in usual hobbies are all common signs of loss of initiative.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, visit your doctor or care provider to discuss your concerns.
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