Dementia is an umbrella term for several conditions that influence the cognitive functioning of a person. The earliest signs of it are loss of memory and confusion.
Dementia happens when the nerve cells in the brain cease to function. This results in a reduced capacity to think, reason, and remember.
Though it’s usually associated with older age, it’s not an inevitable part of the aging process. The brain deteriorates as you grow old; however, this process is much faster in those with dementia.
In order for an individual to get diagnosed with a type of dementia, they usually have to experience two or more of the early signs.
The 12 Warning Symptoms of Dementia
- Hard time doing familiar tasks
People with dementia may not be able to finish familiar tasks like changing the TV channel, working on their computer, preparing a cup of coffee, or getting to a familiar place.
These challenges may happen with tasks both at work and at home.
- Difficulty writing and speaking
People with dementia may struggle in conversations. They may forget what they’ve said or what others have told them.
Entering a conversation becomes a real challenge: they experience worsened punctuation, spelling, and grammar and an inability to understand their handwriting.
- Mood and personality changes
Dementia causes mood swings and changes in personality.
The individual may become more depressed, fearful, irritable, and anxious. Also, they may act inadequately or disinhibited.
- They avoid social activities
Individuals who have dementia may lose their interest in socializing with people from their work and home life.
They may avoid talking to others and won’t pay attention when they’re being told. They may also cease taking part in sports, hobbies, and other activities with people.
- They misplace their things
People who have dementia may not be able to recall where they’ve left everyday objects, like their phone, wallet, or remote.
This could result in a lot of frustration and they may even resort to blaming others for stealing their possessions.
- Poor decision-making and judgment
It may be challenging for people with dementia to differentiate between unreasonable and reasonable and unfair and fair.
They will end up paying too much for stuff they buy or purchase unnecessary things.
It’s also not uncommon for dementia individuals to stop paying attention to their personal hygiene or how they present themselves.
- Confused about time and place
Dementia can make people confused about the passing of time. They may also forget how they got to a certain place, why they got there, and where they actually are.
They may also be unable to understand events that will happen in the future or ones that happened in the past. Remembering dates may also be a challenge for them.
- Can’t understand visual information
People with dementia may struggle with reading, judging a distance, or differentiating between colors.
The drivers or those who cycle may begin to find the activities challenging and may even get lost even when a location is familiar.
- Loss of memory
This is one of the most common signs of dementia.
The person will be less able to recall information that they’ve learned recently and may need to rely on their closest family members or friends or other types of memory aids to keep up.
Forgetting things happens with most people as they age. But, they’re usually able to recall the information later on if the loss of memory is due to age and not due to dementia.
- They become repetitive
The loss of memory and the changes in behavior due to dementia may cause the individual to start repeating themselves.
They will say that one thing several times during a single conversation. The repetition will also be noticeable in the daily tasks they do.
- They’ve lost the initiative
Dementia patients often experience apathy and loss of initiative.
They appear as emotionally flat and disinterested in their hobbies or activities.
According to studies, apathy happens in up to 76 percent of people with Alzheimer’s.
- Changes in personality
Our personalities may change as time goes by; however, in people with dementia, the changes may look drastic and abrupt.
They may become more shy or more suspicious. They may also appear confused.