Millions of people worldwide are living with Dementia; Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. As we grow older our brain changes and we may have problems remembering things and doing other such functions requiring a focused thought process
Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis changes a person’s pattern of life, can you tell what are some signs of dementia?
Dementia symptoms may be minimal, but as the disease causes more damage to the brain, symptoms worsen. The rate at which the disease progresses is different for everyone, but on average, people with Alzheimer’s live for eight years after the symptoms begin.
You’ve misplaced your keys for the second time this month and the other day, you got flustered and confused when you couldn’t find the exit in the shopping centre. Depending on your age, it might be hard to know if you’re just busy and distracted or in fact showing some early warning signs of dementia.
If you feel that several of the following signs apply to you, it’s worth visiting your doctor for further advice and perhaps a referral to a specialist. Note that the exact combination of symptoms varies greatly between individuals.
1. Memory loss – Especially short-term memory loss. You might have forgotten recent conversations or events while your recollection of experiences in the farther distant past may be perfectly intact. While this happens to all of us to some degree, when it happens regularly, it’s more of a concern.
2. Difficulty with familiar tasks – A very good warning sign, If an older adult used to be very good at something and becomes less able to perform that task, that can be a sign of dementia especially if it happens repeatedly, this alone could be a reason to see your doctor.
For example, some women who have always been great cooks may gradually start to make more and more mistakes and this might make them not want to cook anymore. Younger people may start to make mistakes at work, even in a job they’ve always been good at.
3. Disorientation of time and place – You might be out somewhere and suddenly forget where you are or you might be in a shopping mall and have no idea which direction to take. Usually if someone just stops for a moment he / she can figure this out but someone with early dementia will be less likely to be able to work it out.
4. Deteriorated judgement – Dementia affects both memory and concentration, which in turn affects a person’s ability to make a sound judgement. Being more readily talked into an unsuitable deal by a salesperson, or perhaps agreeing to an unsafe demand from a young grandchild in the person’s care are signs of deteriorating judgement.
5. Problems with numbers – Difficulty calculating numbers, particularly when this was formerly a person’s strength. Someone might be out shopping and be told the cost of an item but cannot figure out which bank notes to use to pay for the item.
6. Misplacing things – We all misplace things every now and then, like temporarily misplacing a wallet or our keys, but doing this too often, including putting things in the wrong places like putting your sunglasses in the freezer for instance, is more common in those with dementia.
7. Mood and behaviour changes – Some people start to have noticeable swings in their mood, going from calm to tears for no apparent reason. For others there will be a shift to a different but more constant mood state, usually this is a more withdrawn and depressed state, although some people will become more happy-go-lucky than they used to be.
8. Personality changes – A person with dementia can become suspicious or fearful, or just apathetic and uncommunicative. They may also become dis-inhibited, overly familiar or more outgoing than previously. A person may also become very passive and not notice that their house has become very untidy and dirty for example. They might also stop doing social activities or housework through lost confidence. They stop performing those activities because they are worried about not doing it properly.
Looking at a list of early warning signs of dementia might help you to come to a judgement but it may not even be a conclusion of dementia after you have put all the pieces together because other conditions can cause similar symptoms that might even be treatable. If you are showing early signs of dementia the earlier a diagnosis is made the better is your chance of benefiting from medications.