10 Early Symptoms of Dementia: Be Aware of Subtle Signs
We all experience occasional moments where we forget where we stored an item or can’t find the right words to express ourselves. But if your friend or family member is experiencing mental difficulties regularly, that might be a warning sign of dementia.
In this article, we will discuss 10 early symptoms of dementia and how to recognize them on time. Check out the list and see if any of the signs mentioned sound familiar.
1. Experiencing Memory Loss
Memory problems usually start with minor things, which is why you should pay attention to detail. For most people dealing with dementia, short-time memory loss becomes problematic first. That means a person might forget about meeting you in the afternoon, even though you agreed to meet in the morning.
You might notice that the person started using reminders and notes on their phone for virtually every plan they have. While that might be due to better organization, if they didn’t have that habit in the past, it might be a sign even they recognize something is wrong.
2. Problems with Finding the Right Words
We all had that situation where we can’t find the right word to express ourselves. However, it’s not a problem if you can’t remember the word “insinuating.” It is an issue if you have problems explaining what you want to say, even if you have to use other words.
This doesn’t have to refer only to speaking because people dealing with dementia might have problems writing particular phrases. They could have a blockage that lasts seconds or minutes where they can’t remember how to write a letter. You might also notice subtle changes in their grammar since they might start misspelling words or using wrong punctuation.
3. Mood and Personality Changes
These are two different things but they are both connected to dementia. The experts indicate that depression is common among Alzheimer patients. That is why you should wonder why your friend or loved one is feeling down for no apparent reason.
You might even notice unusual behavior that’s not in line with that individual’s personality. For example, if they were shy up to that point, and suddenly became outgoing, it might be a warning sign of dementia.
4. Not Being Able to Complete Usual Tasks
The “usual” tasks are the ones that a particular person completed without too much effort earlier. For some, playing games at the most challenging level and solving the toughest quizzes is normal. If they have to reduce the difficulty and look for simpler tasks, that might indicate mental health deterioration.
We can also count everyday activities in this category. For example, not knowing how to start a game on PC, even though that person plays it every day, can be among the 10 early symptoms of dementia. Anything that is part of the routine, but the person now has problems completing, is a sign to start being worried.
5. Repeating the Same Questions
We can tie this back to short-term memory issues, which are common in the early stage of dementia. Here is an example – you might be having a conversation where you mention a colleague from work. After you continue talking about what they did, the other party might ask you who you are talking about again.
Repetitiveness can be the case in other segments of life, too. For example, a person might buy the same thing twice or wash their hair multiple times in a single day.
6. Placing Things in Wrong Places
It is probably something we are all familiar with because misplacing things is common, especially if you lead a busy life. But this is not about forgetting where you stored something, but rather keeping it in a completely wrong place.
For example, you might find kitchen utensils next to jackets in the cupboard. Perhaps the person put the book in a fridge, or sneakers in the cabinet for spices. These might be evident examples, but if they put something out of its natural position, it might be that dementia got them confused.
7. Unusual Decision Making
It might be a tough one to identify because you need to know that person well. One of the 10 early symptoms of dementia is looking for something out of the ordinary in that individual’s behavior.
For example, a person might be sensible when it comes to spending. However, they now decided to spend half of their salary on an item they don’t even need. It might be that they decided to throw a party for no reason, and even though they don’t like parties. If something doesn’t fit the usual pattern, you should see if there are any other dementia symptoms present.
8. Getting Confused About Location
Confusion is a sign of dementia, and people dealing with it might be in a dilemma regarding their current location. It might seem like they don’t know where they are, even if only for a couple of seconds.
Also, they might have problems finding their way home or mix up the familiar locations. For example, you might tell them to go to the store, and they go to the other part of the street where the bar is.
9. Not Being Able to Recognize a Face
It is hard to find a person who didn’t have problems recalling a face occasionally. However, this refers to faces that people should be familiar with already. Whether they fail to recognize a family member or a neighbor, this can be a sign of dementia.
You could say the same for mixing up people’s names. If a person calls a neighbor by the name of a relative, and they don’t correct the mistake immediately, it might be a sign of cognitive problems.
10. Not Interested in Social Activities and Hobbies
We already mentioned that mood swings and depression often come with dementia. You can see that by the person not being interested in hobbies and social activities anymore. If they loved doing that activity before, ask yourself what’s different now.
Retracting from social activities (more than usual) might be another sign of dementia. It could be that their brain (consciously or not) recognized the cognitive issues, which is why the person starts refusing to leave home.
When Should You Visit a Doctor?
It is vital not to overreact – a single forgetful moment isn’t enough to determine that someone is struggling with dementia. However, if you notice the signs on multiple occasions, perhaps it is time to recommend that person to visit a doctor.
A professional will conduct a series of tests that could determine a possible cognitive-related condition. Those tests could include anything from memory and other cognitive exercises to brain imaging and blood tests.
Apart from receiving therapy, regular physical activity and healthy lifestyle adjustments can assist in preventing or reducing dementia progression. Your doctor will reveal more about the changes to implement in the future.
As a family or friend of someone with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, you shoulder a particularly heavy burden. Helping this person keep some sort of normalcy is key and the type of care needed is physically and emotionally demanding. Rent a Daughter is here to help. Understanding that you are not alone is the first step. Call us today for a free consultation with one of our caring team members.