The speed of progression varies from person to person, but since prompt treatment can relieve some of the symptoms, it’s important for families to identify the signs as early as possible. Here are 10 early signs of dementia to watch out for.
1. Short-Term Memory Loss
Short-term memory is the part of our memory that stores new information. Short-term memory loss is a common sign of early dementia. One of the more obvious signs of short-term memory loss is your loved one asking the same questions over and over, but not remembering that you’ve already answered.
2. Trouble Completing Familiar Tasks
When people develop this condition, they may have trouble completing tasks that weren’t previously difficult for them. For example, your loved one may have trouble managing money or following a schedule. You may need to remind your loved one to take their medications or help them implement a new schedule or routine.
3. Forgetting Words
Everyone forgets words sometimes, but when it starts to happen more frequently, it can be an early sign of dementia. You may notice that your loved one is calling objects by the wrong names or is often struggling to remember the right words in conversations.
4. Getting Confused with Time and Place
People who are in the early stages of this condition can get confused about time or place. They may lose track of time and show up late for their appointments, if they show up at all. They may lose track of where they are, and not remember how they got there, when they’re walking or driving.
5. Changes in Judgment
Worsening judgement is another early sign of dementia. If your loved one starts making questionable decisions that are out of character, you should be concerned. For example, people with this condition may fall victim to scams like fake sweepstakes or phishing emails that steal their credit card details.
6. Trouble with Problem Solving
Trouble with problem solving is another early sign of dementia. You may notice that your loved one is having trouble working with numbers, and may struggle to pay the right amount of cash in stores. People who used to enjoy challenging hobbies, like crossword puzzles, may solve puzzles more slowly, or may not be able to complete them at all.
7. Losing Items
People with dementia tend to misplace items and have difficulty finding those items again. They can also put items in very strange places. When you visit your loved one’s house, you may find car keys in the fridge or groceries in the closet, for example. Regularly finding objects in unusual places is a sign that your loved one needs help.
8. Sudden Mood Changes
In the early stages of this condition, people may experience very sudden mood changes. If your loved one has always been a happy person, but has suddenly become anxious, irritable, or depressed, dementia may be to blame.
9. Personality Changes
Personality changes are one of the most distressing symptoms that people in the early stages of this condition experience. Your loved one may seem like an entirely different person. For example, people who have always been kind may become irritable or less patient, and people who were always positive may start complaining more often.
People with this condition may feel distressed due to the symptoms they’re experiencing. When people experience difficult emotions like fear, anger, or sadness, they may withdraw from other people as a way to deal with them. They may stop socializing with friends and family, and spend a lot of time on their own. They may also stop participating in their favourite hobbies.
Don’t go alone when caring for a loved one who displays early signs of dementia. Turning to specialists in Alzheimer’s and dementia care will give yourself and your loved ones the support and tools needed to find a care-based solution for everyone.