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Monday, September 10, 2018

What Are the Early Signs of Dementia?


One of the most common problems affecting the elderly is dementia. It is often mistakenly seen as a disease, rather than a collection of symptoms. Those symptoms occur when the brain is damaged and that can happen due to different diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Depending on what caused the damage, people experience various symptoms of dementia.

What is also important to know is that dementia usually develops gradually, which makes it very difficult to be recognized early on. Another problem is that many symptoms are identical to those that aging people experience, such as mild forgetfulness, but that doesn’t mean that they suffer from dementia.

Furthermore, dementia symptoms also include impairment in thought and communication, which could be symptoms of a number of conditions, which means that diagnosing dementia and being right about it is not easy. Here are some of the signs that can help you realize whether your aging partner, family member or friend might be suffering from dementia.




    Short-term memory changes

    One of the possible symptoms is trouble with memory. Such changes are usually subtle and affect short-term memory rather than the long-term one. For example, an older person may be able to remember events from decades ago, but still, fail to remember what they talked about with you the same morning.

    Short-term memory issues also often lead to forgetting where they left their keys, phone or some other important item. Some people even don’t remember why they entered the room once they find themselves in it, which may sound funny to some younger people, but it really causes great frustration for those affected by this condition.

    Linguistic problems

    People affected by dementia start experiencing problems when communicating their thoughts. It happens that they sometimes can’t find the right word or expression or have problems explaining something. This makes it quite difficult for people who are conversing with a person with dementia to understand what their collocutor wishes to say. Also, such conversations may take a bit longer to conclude, which is another sign of dementia.

    Mood swings

    Most of us have mood changes more or less often, which is why it’s difficult to pinpoint whether this is a symptom of dementia or some other problem. This is particularly difficult, if not impossible, to recognize in yourself, but easier when it comes to someone else. For example, depression is one of the common symptoms of early dementia.

    Such mood changes, naturally, may lead to a shift in personality. If you notice that someone has suddenly become much more outgoing than before or much less shy, it may be down to the fact that he or she suffers from dementia. The reason is very simple, such people have their judgment strongly affected and the change in personality is just a logical consequence.

    Apathy

    Another sign that a person may be suffering from dementia is apathy. Namely, it happens that such a person loses interest in the activities and hobbies they used to love. They often withdraw completely and even refuse to leave home or socialize. This may be very difficult for their family members and friends since they are not used to seeing someone they love being so emotionally flat.

    Trouble completing simple tasks

    Dementia is also known to cause problems when it comes to normal, everyday tasks, which the person in question didn’t have problems with before. For example, people with dementia could find it extremely difficult to balance their checkbooks, which can be a huge problem in their daily routine. That’s one of the reasons why it may be best for people with such problems to turn to institutions that provide appropriate dementia care, where they are well looked after and where they don’t have to get frustrated about not being able to complete all the tasks they used to do routinely.


    Confusion

    One more typical early symptom of dementia is confusion, i.e. inability to remember faces, find the right words or have ordinary interaction with other people. Since confusion can be an indicator of a range of different problems, it’s not always easy to associate it with dementia. When someone doesn’t know what comes next in the day or can’t remember meeting someone before, you may not necessarily think of dementia first, but it could mean that the person is showing one of the most common symptoms.

    Problems following a plot

    Another classic symptom of dementia is the situation when a person finds it hard to follow storylines or plots. Apart from being unable to find the right words and expressions sometimes, some of the people suffering from dementia also forget the meaning of words or just can’t follow along with conversations, TV shows, films or books.

    The sense of direction starts failing them

    Spatial orientation and the sense of direction are very important to most of us. However, once dementia occurs, people have problems recognizing even the most familiar landmarks and directions. Following a series of directions or instructions becomes a huge problem as well, which can make life very difficult for the person suffering from dementia.

    Repetitiveness

    Since we have already established that memory loss is one of the most typical symptoms, it’s easy to conclude that repetition may occur as a consequence. Repetition is reflected in either repeating daily tasks, such as brushing teeth or shaving or repeating the same questions they already asked in the same conversation.

    Inability to adapt to change

    If a person realizes they are suffering from dementia, they usually experience fear. They start thinking about their problem and dreading the consequences. Since they want to avoid situations where their problem will become apparent, they crave routines and try to resist any change. If you add the fact that the elderly lose their ability to adjust with age, you can see how serious this may be.

    Again, it’s important to realize that the symptoms mentioned here can actually indicate some other problem and that they are not exclusive to dementia. Still, if you recognize some of them, you need to schedule an appointment with a doctor. Also, bear in mind that, though dementia is typical of the elderly, some early onsets can begin when people are much younger, even in their 30s. Modern medicine has come a long way when it comes to treating this problem and the patient should be open to various forms of therapy, such as cognitive training and medication. They all help both the person and their families lead lives as normally as possible.

    Author: Diana Smith

    Diana Smith is a full time mom of two two beautiful girls interested in fitness and alternative medicine. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

    That's all for today!
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