What are the early signs of Dementia?
Dementia tends to develop over time. Early symptoms can also be vague and vary from person to person.
Symptoms Of Dementia
Problems with Calculations
Difficulty calculating numbers, particularly when this was previously a strength in the person. An example of this may be if someone is shopping and told an amount to pay and not be able to work out what to hand over in terms of payment.
Everyone at one point misplaces a set of keys or similar but doing this often can be a sign something is wrong.
Repeatedly having difficulty finding the right word to say and increasingly not remembering it later either. Another sign can be substituting the wrong word – either knowingly or without realising. It’s not a case of making it up but when trying to retrieve the word, the wrong word comes to mind. An example of this would be that the person wants to say “can you pass me the potatoes?” and instead says “Can you pass me the apples?”
Dementia affects memory and concentration which in turn can affect a person’s judgement. People with dementia living alone at home may be talked into something they don’t want by a salesman or agree to something that they would not normally.
Disorientation of time and place
The person may be out somewhere and suddenly forget where they are. The person may be in the shopping centre and not know what direction to go in or forget where the exit is. This may be common on a few occasions with people but if the person stops a moment and gathers their thoughts they may be able to work it out. Someone with early dementia will be less likely to be able to work it out.
Difficulty Performing Familiar Tasks
If we used to be very good at something and we have become less able to do that, this can be a sign. An example of this would be for example a woman who has always been a great cook but gradually starts to make more and more mistakes of basic things she did in her stride previously.
Placing Things in Inappropriate Places
Putting things in the wrong place, eg putting a purse in the fridge for instance is more common in people with dementia.
Changes in Mood & Behavior
This can be different for different people but some people may develop noticeable swings in their mood, going from calm to tears for no apparent reason. For others, there will be a change to a different although more constant mood stage eg more withdrawn or depressed or more happy-go-lucky than usual.
Changes in Personality
Someone with dementia can become suspicious or fearful. They may become withdrawn and uncommunicative. A previously quiet and reserved person may come more outgoing, overly familiar when previously shy or become disinhibited when previously. The person may say inappropriate things and unaware of the fact that their comments may be hurtful to others.
People may get lost from time to time but regularly losing your way or becoming disorientated in normally familiar places could be a symptom.
Loss of Initiative
Someone may become unaware that their house is becoming untidy and dirty.
Changes in Grooming
Changes in the person’s appearance may become evident eg buttoning up a cardigan incorrectly or wearing two odd shoes. This can happen to some elderly people but if it starts to occur often, it may be a problem as an early sign of dementia.
Dementia Care at Home Book Series
Find out more about living and caring well at home by clicking on the links below.
101 Tips on Staying Safe at Home with Dementia:
Avoid Falls, Floods, Injuries, Accidents, Doorstep Crime and More ....
Dementia Care at Home, book 1.
Dementia Caregiver: Inspirational Messages of Support for Family Caregivers Everywhere.
Dementia Care at Home, book 2.
Dementia and the Life Ahead
A thoroughly practical guide on living with dementia: diagnosis, symptoms, stages, what to expect, caregiving, and paving the way to live with dignity and grace.
Dementia Care at Home Series, Book 3.