Dementia Care

8 Common Warning Signs of Dementia

Dementia is a broad term used to describe symptoms that cause a decrease in cognitive skills that impedes a person’s daily activities. According to emedicinehealth.com, roughly 1 percent of people between the ages 60 and 64 experience some form of dementia. The percentages increase from 30 to 50 for people age 85 or older.

The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular dementia. It is often mislabeled as senility, but dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is important that anyone who experiences any warning signs of this disorder seeks medical attention. Here is a list of the eight common warning signs of dementia.

  1. Forgetfulness and memory loss: Memory loss is one of the most prevalent signs of dementia. The average person has moments of forgetfulness, but people who suffer from dementia forget things just occurred. Memory loss can also affect the ability to remember dates and events. In some cases, the person may not remember the answer to the question, or that they even asked a question. It is important to notice whether someone is constantly repeating questions or activities or has difficulty with their short-term memory.
  2. Disorientation: Disorientation is another early warning sign. Disoriented people tend to get lost in places they are familiar with, and get confused about the date or have difficulty following simple directions. Disorientation may cause people to place objects in places they do not belong. For example, the milk may be placed in the cupboard and not the refrigerator. This condition can become increasingly worse overtime.
  3. Speech problems: Dementia patients may suffer from speech-related issues. They may find it hard to remember the correct words for objects. Even simple words may prove difficult. In an attempt to substitute a word, the person may use an inappropriate word in its place. The inability to remember simple words may also affect a person’s writing ability.
  4. Changes in personality: Be aware of unusual behavior. It is not uncommon for someone’s personality to change as they age. However, a person with dementia may show dramatic changes in a brief period of time. There may be severe mood swings where a person acts completely out of character. It is also important to notice when these changes in personality happen. Some people may display changes in their behavioral patterns when they are placed in unfamiliar settings.
  5. Withdrawal: Sufferers of dementia may realize that they are having memory loss and communication issues. Instead of bringing attention to their symptoms, they may avoid family and friends to avoid embarrassment. Dementia can cause some to suffer from depression, which can also cause social withdrawal.
  6. Loss of energy: An early warning sign of dementia is the loss of energy. A person who is usually energetic and active may begin to sleep for long periods of time. Participation in normal activities decreases dramatically. Friends and loved ones may also notice that the person sits for hours watching television.
  7. Inability to complete everyday tasks: Everyday activities become unfamiliar during the early stages of this disorder. Common tasks like grooming and meal preparation are difficult. Someone may forget the steps necessary to complete these tasks or the order of the steps. Disoriented people might begin to rely heavily on others to complete basic tasks.
  8. Trouble with abstract thinking: Mental activities that require multiple steps become problematic. These issues become obvious when the person engages in activities that require them to analyze information. Things like math or following a discussion are difficult. The inability to organize projects, make plans, and other decisions are challenging for those suffering with dementia.